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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for stronger ties between Africa and European countries in a bid to boost trade between the two regions.
Stefan Nalletamby, the Bank’s Acting Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, highlighted the importance of such a relationship, noting that it would result in more equitable benefits.
Nalletamby was speaking during the European Development Days held on June 15 and 16, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Participating in a panel on Development and Trade Links and the Agenda 2030, Nalletamby emphasised the need to employ a different strategy in order to realise maximum profits from the EU/Africa relationship. “We need to rethink the way we do business. We must have a comprehensive approach which combines hard and soft infrastructure,” he said, pointing out the importance of enhancing intra-African trade.
Other panelists were Cecilia Malmström, the EU Trade Commissioner, and Arancha Gonzalez, the International Trade Centre Executive Director.
The Bank was also represented in other sessions, including a forum on “Achieving the SDGs: how can we make business more social?” Emanuele Santi, a Lead Strategy Advisor at the AfDB, spoke on the need for the global community to move beyond the often fragmented programs to support enterpreneurship and esnure greater synergy among their interventions. “If we are serious about enterprenership and building local ecosystems, we as the development community need to start behaving like an ecosystem.”
Santi referred to the Bank’s experience of rallying 20 partners from private sector, local banking system and donors in Tunisia, under the Souk At-tanmia program. He also cited the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which seeks to create 25 million jobs by equipping young people with skills to help them realise their full potential.
The strategy will see the Bank join forces with the European Investment Bank to support new innovative ventures in a synergic manner. The two institutions will complement each other, deploy interventions, combine equity investments and venture capital funds, as well as offer support to incubation and to ecosystem building.
The European Development Days is the European Commission’s annual gathering, which brings the development community together to share ideas and best practices in the field of development.
The Bank was also represented at the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Advisory Board meeting hosted by the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica. Nalletamby attended the event on behalf of AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina. It was co-chaired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim. The meeting brought together leaders from governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil society.
The meeting saw the new CEO of SE4All, Rachel Kyte, present the draft Strategic Framework for Results 2016-2021 for SE4All in the context of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on energy and the Paris Agreement.
Nalletamby welcomed the focus of the Strategic Framework on front-loading the energy access target, which he said is aligned with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa. The initiative seeks to provide universal energy access in Africa by 2025.
He further highlighted the Bank’s leadership on SE4All as host of the SE4All Africa Hub. He called upon partners to support African countries with the implementation of their SE4All Action Agendas, and as well as their national implementation framework for SDG 7.