State of the Union Address 2018
On 12 September 2018, on the occasion of his State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a new 'Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' to substantially boost investment in Africa, strengthen trade, create jobs, and invest in education and skills. The package builds on the commitments taken during the African Union – European Union Summit which took place in November last year in Abidjan, where the two continents agreed to strengthen their partnership. It sets out the key strands of action for a stronger economic agenda for the EU and its African partners. The European Commission is thus today setting out a number of ways to address the investment challenges and opportunities in Africa which are detailed in the new Communication adopted on the same day.
As President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnership. And we, Europeans need this partnership just as much. Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance – as we envision it – would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone."
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "This Alliance is about unlocking private investment and exploring the huge opportunities that can produce benefits for African and European economies alike. It is about stepping up our partnership and putting our weight behind African initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area".
The Commission's proposal for an 'Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs' is part of a package which also includes a proposal for a more efficient financial architecture for investment outside the European Union, which will also support further investment in Africa. Under President Juncker's leadership, the EU has been strengthening its partnership with Africa, including with new innovative tools, on top of traditional cooperation instruments, notably the External Investment Plan (EIP).