Sunday, June 26, 2022
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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. is a think tank and a network of independent professional international development consultants established to promote and influence customs & trade-related policies in African nations to achieve trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving international and regional trade
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The new rush to Africa

Often dubbed as the last frontier for development in the global economy, Africa is nowadays at the centre of an increasing interest by other countries and trade blocks that are competing with each other in a race to expand and deepen their sphere of influence and their relationship with the continent. Bilateral Summits and Business Fora are being organized more and more frequently by foreign countries to promote cooperation and discuss new investment and project opportunities in a continent that is expected to grow more than any other regional areas in the world in the forthcoming years. Undoubtedly, the recent launch of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has acted as a catalyst in growing such interest.

After the recent conclusion of the Sixth European Union/African Union Summit, held from 17 to 18 February 2022 in Brussels, now it’s the turn of the United States, that are planning to host the second US-Africa Leaders Summit by the end of this year. In preparation of such event, the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee held in July 2021 a series of hearings with academics and representatives of US think-tanks and research centers focusing on analysis of US-Africa relations, to explore opportunities for trade and investment of US companies in Africa (the minutes of the hearings are available here). The first US-Africa Leaders summit was held in Washington D.C. in August 2014, and focused on trade, investment and security of the continent.

On the other hand, the EU will host in Brussels on 21 and 22 June 2022 the European Development Days, the leading forum on international partnerships organised by the European Commission, that this year will also host discussions on the future contribution of the EU to the Africa’s economic development.

Other countries that pariodically organise bilateral summits or business forum with Africa are China, with its Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), whose last edition was held in the end of November 2021 in Dakar, Senegal. On 20 January 2020 also the UK hosted the first UK-Africa Investment Summit in London to promote investment opportunities across Africa for UK companies, while India, Turkey and Japan, all held their third summits (called respectively India-Africa Summit Forum, Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, and Japan-Africa Business Forum), in October 2015, December 2021 and July 2021. Brazil, on the other hand, held its last Brazil-Africa Forum in November 2021 and plans the next (tenth) edition for end of November 2022, while Russia organized its first (and last) Russia-Africa Summit in October 2019.

 

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