A more effective EU trade policy for Africa - a BusinessEurope position paper
- Over the next years, many European companies will seek to diversify their supply chains and, in some cases, relocate their production closer to the European market to increase their resilience. This can create opportunities for African countries, both as an investment destination and as a source of raw materials and inputs. At the same time, with growing middle classes and economic growth rates exceeding those of most developed countries, the African market will become increasingly attractive for EU exporters who seek to diversify their markets. To tap into this potential, the EU needs a more ambitious trade policy vis-à-vis the continent. This should involve increasing the number of African countries covered by preferential trade agreements with the EU, modernising and deepening existing trade agreements with African countries and regions – including by making sure that more sectors benefit from preferential access – and exploring the scope for innovative agreements in areas such as investment facilitation or digital trade.
- The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has the potential to make the African continent a more attractive investment destination for European companies. Therefore, the EU should keep supporting African countries and the African Union with both the negotiation and implementation of the AfCFTA. The EU’s long-term goal should be the creation of a continent-to-continent free-trade area between the EU and Africa, which streamlines all existing EU trade frameworks with the continent under one single deal.
- EU trade and development policies need to better complement one another. On the one hand, EU development policy should flank trade policy by improving the investment climate in partner countries and mitigating excessive risks for investors. On the other hand, the EU should use tools such as capacity building and technical assistance to help partner countries comply with their commitments in trade agreements, namely in the area of sustainability.