The Europe-Africa partnership must focus on five priorities, and address the major challenges faced by the African continent, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of job creation. These challenges are: the business environment, industrialization and integration into the global economy, taxation, regional integration, and professional training. While providing answers to these challenges will benefit the African continent, it will also be beneficial for Europe through preferred cooperation.
The political, legal, institutional and regulatory conditions in African countries are currently not optimal for foreign companies wishing to invest on the African continent, which hinders the attractiveness of these countries. Infrastructure is a key element of a country or market’s attractiveness - and therefore of its economic activity. Without a road or railroad in good condition between Dakar and Bamako, which foreign ord local company can consider Senegal or Mali as a large market in which it is interesting to invest? Yet, infrastructure needs remain tremendous in African countries in search of foreign investment.
Industrialization and integration into the global economy
Today, Africa represents only 2% of global value chains - that is, all the activities that bring a product from design, to production, to delivery to the final consumer. The continent's industry, which is largely focused on raw materials, is insufficiently competitive and creates little added value locally. In addition, the African continent currently suffers from a deficit in African regional value chains.
To finance the $600 billion a year needed for development, African states must and have the potential to raise more domestic resources through tax collection. This will also have an impact on the attractiveness of African countries for companies, particularly European companies, which tend to be overtaxed.
Intra-African trade now accounts for less than 18% of the continent's trade. While the entry into force in July 2019 of a Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed by 44 African countries and ratified by 22, is a promise of improvement in this regard, it should not conceal the future challenges of African regional integration. There are significant differences in income between countries and the capacity of existing regional institutions - UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union), ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States), SADC (Southern African Development Community), EAC (East African Community) - are currently too low.
About 30 million young Africans enter the labour market each year. However, professional training does not meet the needs of the African continent: it is too poorly funded and unsuited to the needs of companies, which often have to pay for remedial training, which represents significant, even prohibitive costs.