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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

European Parliament

11-14 September: European Parliament Plenary Session

European Council

13 September: Coreper II
13 September: Coreper I
14 September: Justice and Home Affairs Council
15 September: Eurogroup

European Investment Bank

14 September: EIB investment in digitalisation outside the EU

Other Events

12 September: Infopoint Lunchtime Conference - Nowhere to Run: Nigeria's Climate and Environmental Crisis
14 September: Infopoint Lunchtime Conference - Hidden treasure in Africa

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According to statistics published by the European Commission, cocoa processed into paste and powder is the second most important African product exported to the EU. In its publication of 22 August 2017, the Quotidien de l’Economie states that according to the European Commission’s ‘Agri-Food Trade Statistical Factsheet EU-Sub-Saharan Africa’, agricultural foodstuffs in 2016 accounted for 12.5% of the European Union’s (EU) exports to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including South Africa. The most important export to the EU in terms of value is cocoa beans, which last year accounted for 36% of the total, up 15.1% from 2015.

At the request of France, Emmanuel Macron and Alassane Ouattara met for the second time in less than three months, on 31 August at the Élysée Palace. The two heads of state met face-to-face (as did their wives) for a quarter of an hour in the Palace gardens, before joining their teams for a lunch that also included French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, French ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Georges Serre, and Gilles Huberson, who will succeed him in mid-September. This graduate of the French military academy of Saint Cyr got along very well with Patrick Achi, the Secretary General of the Ivorian Presidency. Among the topics discussed were the implementation of projects financed by France, including the Abidjan metro, to which France is contributing €1.4 billion, and which is due to be launched in November.

Côte d’Ivoire ranked sixth in Africa in 2016 in terms of new projects financed by foreign capital, with a total of 33 projects. This figure, up by 27%, makes Côte d’Ivoire the third best performer behind Algeria (+42%) and Tunisia (+60%). Côte d’Ivoire benefited from $747 million in new capital for projects, resulting in the creation of 3,787 new jobs. In 2016, Morocco and France provided the most foreign direct investment for new projects in Côte d’Ivoire, with France first in terms of the number of new projects supported (nine in total), and second in terms of capital injected ($108 million). The United States contributed $22 million to three projects.

Europe will remain an important supplier of agricultural goods in the future but the greatest untapped potential lies in Africa, which could become the “bread basket” for the rest of the world, the president of Yara, a multinational fertiliser and crop nutrition company, told EURACTIV. Svein Tore Holsether also said digital technologies like precision farming were the best way to boost agricultural production. “While we still see the potential for increasing productivity and sustainability of European agriculture, the greatest potential we see is in Africa,” Holsether pointed out. “Today €29.6bn ($35bn) is spent every year on importing food, while there is a great untapped potential for higher productivity as the continent holds 65% of the world’s arable land,” the fertiliser company boss said.

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