The European Commission recently adopted a set of projects in support of African economic integration. The initiatives, worth €101.5 million, focus on infrastructure, intellectual property rights and improving the investment climate in Africa.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “Supporting an increasingly integrated African market is one of the pillars of our Africa-Europe Alliance. With these initiatives worth €100 million, the EU helps to improve key infrastructure, to promote intellectual property rights and to facilitate a conducive investment climate. These elements underpin the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, an ambitious project by our African partners that will boost intra-African trade with positive effects for economies across the continent”.
These new projects are the first batch of 2019 actions financed by the Pan-African Programme. The bulk of the funding for 2019 (€90 million) will be for blending projects, which are part of the EU External Investment Plan (notably its Africa Investment Platform). They will support continental and cross-regional connectivity, through dedicated projects aimed at improving sustainable trans-regional transport and energy infrastructure. This represents a stepping-stone to boost economic integration in Africa.
The initiative “Intellectual Property Rights for Africa” (€7 million) will promote the value and benefits of intellectual property protection in Africa, strengthen African national and regional intellectual property organisations and support the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area protocol on intellectual property. This initiative will have a positive impact on intra-African trade, investment and job creation.
The third programme (€4.5 million) will reinforce the investment climate between African and EU stakeholders from the public, private, academic and research world via a series of high-level strategic structured dialogues. This initiative nurtures the strategic sector dialogue foreseen in the Africa-Europe Alliance.
The Pan-African Programme supports the Africa-EU Partnership and covers Africa as a whole, through projects with a trans-regional, continental or global added value. Established in 2014, it has a budget of €845 million for the period 2014-2020. Continental economic integration is one of three focal sectors for the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2018-2020, which amounts to €400 million.
The 2019 action plan of the Pan-African programme aims to support economic integration, both within Africa and between Africa and the EU. The initiatives are in line with the European Commission Communication Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs responding to the priorities identified at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan of mobilising investments for African structural and sustainable transformation.