The Business Forum 2022, organized at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, in the municipality of Cocody, highlighted the priority value chains for West Africa and on which the European Union (EU) private sector has some expertise in responding to the structural transformation of African economies through solid business partnerships.
On the afternoon of this meeting, Friday 17 June 2022, a partial report was drawn up in which the business relationships established during this meeting are recorded.
Two marriages were indeed celebrated during this Business Forum. The first marriage took place between a European private sector association represented by Medef International and a West African employers’ association represented by the coordinator of the G5 Sahel Employers’ Union. This is the first real rapprochement between the West African private sector on the occasion of this Business Forum.
“The overall assessment of the Business Forum will take place in February 2023”
The second marriage took place between the General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (Cgeci) and the Public Investment Bank of France (BPI). The BPI has developed an online platform to bring French entrepreneurs closer to Africa.
Another flagship initiative announced in the afternoon is the maintenance of the B2B platform used for the Forum for a month and should allow all participants to communicate with each other.
† In February 2023, we can take stock of the Business Forum to take stock of the business relationships established in the context of this business meeting. “, informs the Executive Director of the General Confederation of Businesses of Côte d’Ivoire (Cgeci), Stéphane Aka-Anghui.
Opportunities to seize
Returning to the comments made by the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi at the opening of the proceedings of this meeting, the representative of the Minister in charge of African Integration, Dr. Vaflahi Meité, Director-General of Economic Diplomacy, about the opportunities to participate during the Business Forum.
Opportunity in the sense that the world is changing and moving towards multipolarism and that Africa should seize this forum as an opportunity to strengthen its economic and trade relations with the European Union, which has been its historic partner for many years.
† It is up to us to ensure that we can structurally transform our economies so that we are competitive in the European market, which is a major advantage for us, if only because of the geographical proximity exclaims Dr. Meité.
“Africa should seize the Business Forum as an opportunity to strengthen its economic and trade relations with the European Union”
But to get there, he recommends working on a few pillars. In particular, the Pillar of Private Sector Competitiveness in African States; improving the business climate. The other pillar considered equally important for private sector development is infrastructure development.
† No economy can develop without infrastructure. When we talk about infrastructure, we think about ports and airports, which is good. But access to energy and basic services such as telecommunications, which contribute significantly to strengthening competitiveness, is important. says dr. Meité, who does not rule out another pillar where Africa still needs partnerships, namely human capital. Convinced that without human capital it is impossible to develop an economy.
The EU Ambassador’s Call
The European Union (EU), in this strong expectation of the continent, believes in Africa and in Africans. This was expressed by the EU’s ambassador to the Ivory Coast, HE Mr. Jobst von Kirchmann, by stating that the African continent is a continent worth investing in.
† Entrepreneurs who come to Africa are willing to take a risk. But you should be aware of these risks. Here, transparency is extremely good. Before investing, you need to know how to calculate these risks. My appeal to entrepreneurs is to be open. On the Ivorian side, we have to accept that a European company arrives in Ivory Coast highly recommends HE Jobst von Kirchmann.
Citing actors such as the EU, the government and banks, the ambassador confesses that these actors cannot enter into joint ventures. † But we can contribute all three actors to facilitate this process “, he mentions.
“Banks need to take one more step to support businesses, especially SMEs”
With regard to banks in particular, the ambassador unfortunately notes that there is still a long way to go to support companies, especially SMEs.
† For us, the EU, I think we need to invest much more in the mechanisms that allow banks to reduce their risk and engage in much more dialogue with the banks to also ensure that this risk reduction is delivered directly to the beneficiaries.
For the government it should be support, encouragement.
My appeal to the actors is to say that we must be open to business and that we must remain in a logic, support, flexibility and above all the will to want to succeed in mixed capital investments “, says the EU ambassador, who is still convinced that the 500 B2B registered during the Business Forum are many and show all the interest of the various European and African parties to seal business relationships.
Congratulations from Eurocham
The President of the European Chamber of Commerce (Eurocham), Marc Albérola, invites governments to listen to the private sector. At this point he took off his hat to the Ivorian government.
According to him, the first two white papers are from Ivory Coast, in addition to the 3e issued by Eurocham and submitted to Prime Minister Patrick Achi on Thursday 16 June 2022, were heard very well.
† The Ivorian government has taken very concrete actions by introducing public policies that promote investment. Ivory Coast has been able to experience economic growth thanks to the highly dynamic private sector. Ivory Coast is an example, and I call on all ECOWAS countries to copy this example invites Marc Albérola, who believes Africans are born entrepreneurs who simply need to be supported and trusted.
“The Business Forum registered more than 700 online registered participants and about 150 who came from outside the European Union or ECOWAS”
There is no doubt that implementing the Business Forum’s recommendations will lead to more win-win partnerships between the West African and European private sector.
The Business Forum registered more than 700 online registered participants and about 150 who came from outside the European Union or ECOWAS.