Africa is Europe’s closest neighbour. The ties that bind Africa and the European Union (EU) are broad and deep as a result of history, proximity and shared interests.


With the 6th Summit between the African Union (AU) and the EU and the conclusion of the negotiations of the new partnership agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, 2020 will be a pivotal year in living up to our ambition of an even stronger partnership. In Africa, new prospects and challenges are emerging from economic, political, social, technological, demographic, climate and environmental changes. We need to partner with Africa, our twin continent, to tackle together the challenges of the 21st century and to further our common interests and future. 


A factsheet about the European Investment Plan, highlighting examples of projects already supported by the EU, which will be stepped up with the help of the External Investment Plan. The projects highlighted are: EFSE (Neighbourhood Window of the European Fund for South East Europe), the DCFTA Direct Finance Facility, the SME Finance Facility – Phase II, and the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership E5P. The External Investment Plan builds on the European Commission’s experience in implementing regional investment facilities. Since 2008, the Neighbourhood Investment Facility has used €2 billion in grants to leverage more than €16 billion from partner International Financial Institutions.


Ahead of the annual European Development Days, The Coca-Cola Company’s Bea Perez outlines the critical role she believes business can play in positively contributing to communities and the planet, and the importance of partnerships in achieving progress.

Why will you be attending the European Development Days (EDD) this year?

It’s going to be an honor to participate. We consistently see that the greatest impact is achieved through partnerships across what we call the golden triangle of government, private sector, and civil society. Organizations from each of these areas bring unique capabilities, connections, and expertise when they come together and work towards common goals. Forums such as the European Development Days are essential to that process in fostering debate, creating new connections, setting clear action plans for future collaboration, and openly sharing what we can learn from both successes and setbacks.


The European Union launched a new External Investment Plan (EIP) in Tbilisi. Ms. Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation is sure that the EIP will boost investment and support more inclusive and sustainable development in Georgia. The EU External Investment Plan is another sign of the strong commitment from the European Union to encourage economic growth through private and public investment in Georgia, says Ms. Mathernova. In her interview with Forbes Georgia, she openly speaks about alternative methods of business development in the country and provides details of other EU financial assistance. 

What is your overall assessment of the economic development in Georgia?

Overall our assessment is very positive. Georgia has taken on a lot of important reforms on quite a sustained basis and it seems that we are over the hump with regard to the negative impact of the developments in the region, as well as and the slump in trade with Russia. In following the developments in the region over the last several years, I think we are out of that period and also out of the period of developments in the European Union negatively effecting trade with its neighbors. Georgia grew significantly last year and the projections for this year are somewhere between 4.6 and 4.8 percent growth, which is excellent news. The other good thing is that the foreign direct investment has gone up.


The European Union and Morocco have launched the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) in the country to create a better business environment and foster economic development.

“The European Union is strongly committed to supporting Morocco in building a sound, inclusive and sustainable economy,” the European Commission said in a statement.

“Launched in September 2017 to help boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighborhood, the EIP will now encourage investments promoting an inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development also in Morocco,” the EU said.

EIP “will help leverage significant private funds into key sectors of Morocco’s economy. The plan will in turn empower local entrepreneurs and create jobs in the country. This new and innovative approach will also help carry out big sustainable development projects,” said Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations and European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn.

The Plan will build on three pillars, the first of which is the new European Fund for Sustainable Development. Around “€4.1 billion in grants will be made available to support sustainable development in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the European Neighborhood, as well as allowing public and private operators to leverage each other’s strengths.”


The conference will present key milestones in delivering the Union’s External Investment Plan, an ambitious strategy to support investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood, and a key part of the EU-Africa Alliance initiative. By leveraging in particular private finance, EU’s contribution of more than €4.1 billion is expected to mobilise €44 billion of investment in total by 2020.


After largely failing to provide 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) in aid to developing countries for almost half a century since making the commitment, donor countries have recently promoted blended finance (BF) as a solution to the financing for development challenge. Blending refers to combining public development funds (in the form of grants, technical assistance or interest indemnification) with loans from private lenders.
Following adoption of Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the OECD and the World Economic Forum (WEF) claimed that “blended finance represents an opportunity to drive significant new capital flows into high-impact sectors, while effectively leveraging private sector expertise in identifying and executing development investment strategies”.


The European Union will invest €160 million in Armenia over the next four years, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said. Mogherini made the announcement at a debate on EU-Armenia relations during the European Parliament’s plenary session on July 4.

“We are ready to support many different fields of action, and just to name a few examples, from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to helping to improve the business environment or investing in energy efficiency, and the list could continue,” Mogherini said.

“We are ready to use our new External Investment Plan to incentivize private investment in strategic sectors for the Armenian economy,” she added.

Mogherini said it was a great pleasure to welcome the new Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to Brussels for the first Partnership Council with Armenia. She noted that this was very soon after the new government took office in what was a smooth, democratic, peaceful transition.


Only three months after the launch of the Africa–Europe Alliance, the European Commission presented the first progress made in boosting investment and creating jobs in Africa at the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe held in Vienna, Tuesday.

The Forum was hosted jointly by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, as EU President, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairman of the African Union for 2018.

President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated Europe’s ambition for a true and fair partnership among equals between Africa and Europe, when presenting the first results of the Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, launched three months ago in a bid to deepen economic and trade relations between the two continents.


With a population expected to double by 2050 from 1.2 billion to around 2.5 billion predominantly young people, the African continent will need to foster job creation and economic growth through sustainable development.

The agricultural sector can play a key role in this, having the capacity to provide jobs and growth in rural areas, taking into account that currently 60% of African populations come from rural areas. The EU is supporting the transition towards a stronger African agricultural sector. While previously based around trade and development, the focus of EU-Africa relations is shifting towards policy cooperation, knowledge sharing and promoting responsible investment.