The European Commission has set out its ambitions for a comprehensive and innovative partnership between Africa and the EU called the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs. This includes a renewed determination to boost investment for job creation and to strengthen the role of the private sector.
The EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force (the DETF) will work on four complementary areas:
- To provide recommendations on policies and measures that can support pan-African digital integration. Specific attention will be paid to measures to overcome the fragmentation of existing markets and the development of a common enabling regulatory environment.
- To identify ways to boost both public and private investment in the African digital economy. This will be based on coordination with existing initiatives (in particular the External Investment Plan, D4D Coordination Mechanism, the Sustainable Business for Africa platform, and the Abidjan Declaration) and with required development assistance, trade and investment agreements, and instruments. The Task Force will identify possible synergies between the different types of investment (incl. blending opportunities), technical assistance and structural reforms.
- To provide recommendations on development assistance interventions based on the conclusions of the Abidjan Business Forum on how to mainstream digital services and technologies across different sectors of the economy and society. They will focus on topics such as affordable broadband connectivity, boosting the uptake of digital skills, support to digital entrepreneurship and the deployment of e-Services. The recommendations shall be targeted at building up the proposed “Jobs & Growth Compacts” between the EU & various individual African countries as part of the preparation of the future programming instruments.
- To identify structural reforms to improve the business environment and investment climate. This will in turn facilitate responsible private EU investment in the African digital economy as well as intra-African and EU-African digital trade. Specific attention will be paid to the development of the regulatory environment for the digital economy.
The EU-AU digital economy task force consists of 20 high-level representatives at the level of Minister or CEO, appointed in a personal capacity. Each member can be assisted by one expert (“Sherpa”) if needed, for expert input and drafting.
The composition of the DETF reflects the geographic, cultural and gender diversity of both continents and has representatives from both the public and private sector as well as civil society.
The membership of the DETF is also designed to ensure that it can contribute to supporting the long-term sustainability of the Task Force propositions, beyond completion of its own work in December 2019.
The EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force will allow us to formalise our support to this strategic sector. The proposals of the Task Force will be the outcome of a joint coordinated and structured reflection between African partners, the European Commission and all relevant international institutions.