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Brussels, 25 March 2011

European Commissioners Andris Piebalgs and Michel Barnier advocate green growth and economic integration in Africa

In the context of the joint EU-Africa Strategic partnership, Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, and Michel Barnier Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, will attend the annual joint meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Economy of the African Union and of the UN Economic Commission for Africa on 28th and 29th March in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). The core topic of the meeting will be about "Governing Development in Africa", including discussions on the role of the State, long term prospects for sustainable development through economic integration and green growth. The Commissioners will confirm EU readiness to support Africa's endeavours towards good governance of the economy at national and regional level, a fairly redistributed and environmentally-friendly growth, and a common agenda in the global economic governance. Commissioners will also meet with Jean Ping, President of the African Union, to discuss notably recent developments in North Africa and in Ivory Coast, as well as to prepare the future of EU-African relations. They will also meet with African Union Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra to discuss peace and security issues, notably in Somalia and Ivory Coast.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "In the coming years, I'm confident Africa will be one of the engines of global growth. The continent has a wealth of natural resources but they are not used to their full potential. Hydropower is only used to 7 % of its capacity, for example, whilst 500 million people in Africa still have no access to electricity. I see green economy as fundamental to inclusive growth and reducing poverty in the long term. We are ready to do all we can to support our African partners in achieving it"

"Economic integration in Europe through the development of the Internal Market has been a powerful force for peace and prosperity", Commissioner Barnier said. "African countries can also reap great benefits by making their economies work better together. I want the EU and the African Union to share experience in this regard not only today but on an ongoing basis. "

Commissioner Piebalgs will address the panel on Green Economy and Global Sustainability at the joint AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and UN Economic Commission for Africa. He will highlight the EU's ongoing commitment to encouraging sustainable management of areas like forestry, extraction, renewable energy and water. Discussions will focus on the EU's support for sustainable and inclusive growth. He will also underline the role of democratic values in the sustainable economic development of countries.

Green growth will be one of the major themes at the 2012 Rio Conference on Sustainable Development. The outcomes of the Annual Ministerial Conference will provide a basis for concerted action between the EU and Africa at both national and regional levels. The subsequent ministerial statement and outcomes of the Conference will help inform the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July.

Michel Barnier will share EU experience on regional integration in the course of a High Level Panel Discussion on the theme of "Governing Development in Africa" and in a series of bilateral meetings with senior African representatives. He will also highlight the importance of transparency of companies active in Africa and of the financial markets, notably in commodities. Following a joint workshop of the EU Commission and the African Union Commission on the Internal Market held at the end of February this year, Commissioner Barnier will propose a series of follow-up actions for future cooperation in this field. Examples include staff exchanges and seminars for the AUC on a range of policies such as technical standardization, public procurement, financial services, money laundering, and the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Background:

Following up on its recent Green Paper, the European Union is currently undertaking a global review of its development policy, putting a stronger emphasis on promoting an enabling environment for inclusive growth, private sector investment and job creation, including through innovative means of financing.

More information:

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Internal market website:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Website of the Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/index_en.htm

Website of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia:

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ethiopia/index_en.htm


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