Ambassador Ranieri Sabatucci, the EU Ambassador to the African Union, on Friday revealed that the European Union Commission is proposing a 40 billion Euro package to attract investments that will create at least 10 million jobs in Africa.
The Ambassador was speaking at a two-day Horn of Africa African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) forum whose main focus is the pharmaceutical industry.
Sabatucci said that the grant would help increase African exports, attract investment, including to manufacturing and processing sectors as well as encourage the creation of regional value chains through flexible rules of origin.
“To support this, a massive support of 40 billion Euros of grants under the new Africa-European Alliance for Jobs and Growth is proposed as from 2021 to 2027 to, among others, attract investments that would create 10 million jobs in Africa,” he said, adding the EU will continue to increase its support to Africa in that regard.
“Our support for the AfCFTA has a lot to do with our history. It was through the establishment of the free trade area and customs union and the single market that the last 60 years have become the longest period of peace, economic growth and prosperity in our continent,” he said, adding real work begins now since the AFCTA came into force on 30 May.
Sabatucci said a stable Horn of Africa was important for regional and Africa’s economic integration.
Speaking at the same forum, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, said Africa’s pharmaceutical industry was a good summary of what the AfCFTA can deliver for the continent.
Worth $20.8 billion in 2013, the industry is predicted to be $64 billion in the next ten years, creating over 16 million jobs in the process.
Songwe said this will also lead to the creation of regional and continental giants and prosperity.
“The AfCFTA is an economic development program anchored around creating regional and continental champions, accelerating infrastructure development, energy and harmonising Africa’s integration platforms. We must now move with speed to implement the AfCFTA and reap the benefits of the agreement,” she said.
Songwe said East Africa with at least 600 million people was one of the fastest growing regions on the continent but that growth has not yet translated into poverty reduction and prosperity.
The theme of the forum, which was organized by the ECA, the Government of Ethiopia, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the European Union (EU), is: “AfCFTA Implementation: Breaking Down Geographical, Logistical and Regulatory Barriers to Trade and Investment in the Horn to Boost Industrialisation: A Focus on the Pharmaceutical Industry”.