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"Horizon Africa will enhance Spain's presence on African continent", says Reyes Maroto

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Reyes Maroto stressed that "this is a strategy that responds to a specific need - to increase economic and trade relations between the two regions".

At the workshop entitled "Africa, a horizon of opportunities", which served as a framework for the presentation of the monographic issue "Africa, economic integration and structural transformations" of the magazine Spanish Trade Information, Reyes Maroto stated that the African continent will have demographic growth with a greater capacity for consumption, which makes it a market with a great potential for foreign investment. She added that the presence of Spanish companies in Africa is significant, contributing towards the development of important projects in such sectors as energy, the automotive industry, transport infrastructures, water and the environment, engineering and consultancy, construction, tourism and agroindustry.

The minister highlighted that the government is working with the European Commission on different initiatives to step up trade relations with the African continent. Firstly, the EU External Investment Plan, presented at the 5th African Union-European Union Summit in 2017, seeks to boost private investment in Africa through the contribution of EU funds for investment projects. Secondly, a process of developing the Economic Association Agreements signed with different regions of Africa to achieve greater economic integration through enhanced trade. Lastly, the minister said that the European Commission has proposed working on a new strategy for the African continent that seeks to step up cooperation in five key areas: the ecological transition, digital transformation, sustainable growth and jobs, peace and governance, migration and mobility.

Day of debate

The workshop had two round tables for debate. The first, on economic integration and structural transformations on the African continent, was moderated by the State Secretary for Trade, Xiana Méndez, who highlighted that "in recent years, many African economies have enjoyed greater macro-economic stability, which has led to the development of a middle class with new consumer preferences and with growing purchasing power. In addition, progress has been made on governance and legal certainty and on plans to move towards greater economic integration".

The round table included speeches by José María Mella Márquez, from the Autónoma University of Madrid and AMENET; Luis Collado Cueto, from the Autónoma University of Madrid and AMENET and Fernando Gallardo Olmedo, from the Autónoma University of Madrid.

The forum concluded with a round table on the strategies under "Horizon Africa", moderated by Mari Paz Ramos, Director General of International Trade and Investment. This involved the participation of Raimundo Robredo, Director-General for Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation; María Peña, CEO of the Institute of Foreign Trade (Spanish acronym: ICEX); Fernando Salazar, Chief Executive of CESCE and José Luis Curbelo, Chairman of COFIDES.

Content of monographic issue

The monographic issue of the magazine ICE addressed different perspectives of the problems on the African continent and provides elements of analysis to enhance knowledge. The publication opens with an article with a broad vision of the strategy towards Africa signed by the State Secretary for Trade, Xiana Méndez, accompanied by other articles relating to economic perspectives in times of COVID-19, direct foreign investments, migratory movements, the role of livestock farming, industrial policy and mitigation measures in credit risk.

The articles were written by Luis Óscar Moreno, Miriam Pérez, Mercedes Monedero and Ana Menéndez-Abascal ("Horizon Africa. Towards a new financial and trade strategy"); Juan Antonio Obregón ("Economic perspectives in Africa in times of COVID19"); Albert A. Agyemang-Badu and Fernando Gallardo ("Direct foreign investment in Africa: Future challenges"); Marta Suárez-Varela and Andrea Vanessa Robalino-Molina ("Migratory patterns between Africa and Europe: the role of food insecurity"); Ana Felis ("The multidimensional role of livestock farming in Africa"); Arkebe Oqubay ("Industrial policy and COVID-19 responses") and Daniel Wagner ("Cross-border risk mitigation in Africa").

Non official translation