December 12, 2017

European Business Organisations unite in Abidjan

The European Business Organisation Worldwide Network (EBO WWN) and 17 of its members including EuroCham Vietnam were invited by the European Union to join global business leaders and European politicians in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  EuroCham joined the invited delegation, represented by Executive Director Ms. Almut Roessner.

This was the first meeting of the EBO WWN to take place in Africa. This annual regional meeting coincided with the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum and the 5th EU-Africa Summit. Key topics discussed at the Business Forum included access to and scaling up of electrification in Africa, improving job opportunities for the explosive growth of young people entering the labour market, developing the agri-food industry in Africa, and improving access to finance for micro-enterprises.  
 
The EBO WWN held a panel session entirely dedicated to developing European Business Organisations in Africa. EBO members from Australia, Brazil, China, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Vietnam shared their experiences on the challenges and opportunities of developing European business organisations in their own countries. The discussions focused on different governance structures, institutional relationship with bilateral chambers, membership development, and general best practises and information sharing. 

The EBO WWN 2017 Meeting dedicated a large section of its agenda to developing European Business  Organisations in Africa.
 
Currently, European business organisations exist in 5 continents and 35 countries. Of these, four African EBOs, namely in Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tanzania; have already attained EBO WWN accreditation and membership. 
 
During the panel discussion, EBO WWN Chair Renato Pacheco from EBO Brazil said, “Africa is the present and the future. We look forward to welcoming more EBOs into the network and providing a supportive platform for their respective successes.”  
Almut Roessner, Eurocham General Sectary of the EBO WWN from Vietnam said, “In recent years, chambers in Asia have intensified cross-border cooperation by organising joint events, facilitating business missions, arranging staff exchanges, sharing information on legislation and bidding together for projects. This regional approach certainly could be transferred to Africa and help to speed up the development of EBOs and promotion of common topics.”
 
In separate meetings EBO members listened to insightful presentations from the Vice President of the World Bank for West Africa, Yara, a Norwegian company providing fertiliser to farmers, Engie, the world’s largest independent power producer as well as from the President of the Ivory Coast European Chamber. On European topics, the members discussed European Union Economic Diplomacy and how to apply in their own countries.
 
With respect to EuroCham Vietnam, Executive Director Almut Roessner shared with other EBOWWN members on 2017 highlights including the Mission to Brussels, the Greenbook project and EVFTA related activities. With other EBOs in countries with existing or planned trade deals with the EU, best practices of how chambers can contribute to the negotiations and inform their members were exchanged.

Almut Roessner shared EuroCham’s successful 2017 with the other EBO WWN members.
 

Finally, EBO WWN Chairman Pacheco also had the opportunity to meet Federica Mogherini, EU Commission Vice President in charge of EU Foreign Affairs and Security, who closed the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum. She reminded that  EU-Africa business needs a “new deal” to have an equal partnership and to foster local business development with European counterparts and the private sector.   

As a result of this trip, the EBO WWN expects about six new Chambers from mainly Africa and Latin America to join the organization thus supporting and strengthening the global representation of European businesses and assisting them in all the continents where they may be active.

 

EBO WWN Renato Pacheco met on the sidelines with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini

 

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