2022 Business Forum organized at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, in the municipality of Cocody, highlighted the priority value chains for West Africa, and as the private sector in the European Union (EU) has some expertise in responding to the structural transformation of African economies through solid business partnerships.
At noon at this meeting, Friday, June 17, 2022, an interim report was prepared to note the business relationships established during this meeting.
In fact, two marriages were 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 ‘organization 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 be made 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). BPI has developed an online platform to bring French entrepreneurs closer to Africa.
Another flagship initiative announced at noon is the maintenance of the B2B platform, which was used for the forum for a month and was intended to allow all participants to interact.
” In February 2023, we will be able to take stock of the Business Forum to take stock of the business relationships established within the framework of this business meeting. “, Informs the CEO of the General Confederation of Companies of Côte d’Ivoire (Cgeci), Stéphane Aka-Anghui.
Opportunities to seize
To return to the remarks made by the Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi at the opening of work on this meeting, the representative of the Minister responsible for African integration, Dr. Vaflahi Meité, Director-General of Economic Diplomacy on the possibilities of entering the Business Forum.
Opportunity in the sense that the world is changing and turning towards multipolarism, and Africa must take this forum as an opportunity to strengthen its economic and trade relations with the EU, which has been the historical 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 great advantage for us, if only because of the geographical proximity calls Dr. Meite.
“Africa must take Business Forum as an opportunity to strengthen its economic and trade relations with the European Union”
But to get there, he recommends working with a number of pillars. In particular, the pillar of private sector competitiveness in African states; improving the business environment. The second pillar that is presented as being just as important for the development of the private sector is infrastructure development.
” No economy can develop without infrastructure. When we talk about infrastructure, we think of ports and airports, that’s good. But access to energy and basic services such as telecommunications, which make a significant contribution to strengthening competitiveness, are important. says Dr. Meité, which does not exclude another pillar where Africa still needs partnerships, namely human capital. Convinced that without human capital it is impossible to develop an economy.
Appeal of the EU Ambassador
The European Union (EU) believes in this strong expectation for the continent of Africa and of Africans. This was stated by the EU Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, HE Mr. Jobst von Kirchmann by stating that the African continent is a continent worth investing in.
” Entrepreneurs coming to Africa are willing to take a risk. But you need to be aware of these risks. This is where transparency is exceptionally good. It is necessary to know how to calculate these risks before investing. My call to entrepreneurs is to be open. On the Ivorian side, we must accept that a European company arrives in Côte d’Ivoire highly recommends HE Jobst von Kirchmann.
Referring to actors such as the EU, government and banks, the Ambassador admits that these actors cannot create joint ventures. ” But we can help, all three actors, to facilitate this process ‘, He mentions.
“There is still a step to be taken by banks to support companies, especially SMEs / SMIs”
With regard to banks in particular, the Ambassador unfortunately notes that there is still a long way to go before they can support companies, especially SMEs.
” For us, the EU, I believe that we need to invest much more in the mechanisms that enable banks to reduce their risks and engage in much more dialogue with banks to also ensure that this risk reduction is given directly to the beneficiaries.
For the government, it must be support, encouragement.
My appeal to the players is to say that we must be open to companies, and we must remain in logic, support, flexibility and, above all, the will to succeed in mixed capital investments. “, Says the EU Ambassador, who remains convinced that the 500 B2B registered at the Business Forum are numerous and shows all the interest of the various European and African parties in sealing business relations.
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 for the Ivorian government.
According to him, the first two white papers from Côte d’Ivoire, in addition to the 3th adopted by Eurocham and submitted on Thursday, 16 June 2022 to Prime Minister Patrick Achi, was very well heard.
” There have been very concrete steps taken by the Ivorian government in introducing public policies that promote investment. Côte d’Ivoire has been able to experience economic growth thanks to the highly dynamic private sector. Côte d’Ivoire is an example and I urge all ECOWAS countries to copy this example invites Marc Albérola, according to whom Africans are born entrepreneurs who simply need to be supported and trusted.
“The Business Forum registered more than 700 participants registered online and about 150 who came from countries outside the EU or ECOWAS”
There is no doubt that if the recommendations of the Business Forum are implemented, it will lead to more win-win partnerships between the West African and European private sector.
Business Forum registered more than 700 participants registered online and about 150 who came from countries outside the EU or ECOWAS.