This is an exclusive report, in summary form, on the discussion forum organized within the framework of the MEDEF Summer School held at the École polytechnique of Palaiseau (Essonne) from 27-29 August 2008.
This is an exclusive report, in summary form, on the discussion forum organized within the framework of the MEDEF Summer School held at the École polytechnique of Palaiseau (Essonne) from 27-29 August 2008. The discussion forum was hosted by Michel Roussin, director and vice-chairman of the Bolloré group and vice-chairman of MEDEF International, and brought together the following participants: Jacques Barrot, vice-president of the European Commission; Serge Michel and Michel Beuret, authors of La Chinafrique, Pékin à la conquête du continent noir (Chinafrica, Peking in conquest of the black continent); Charles Diby Koffi, Minister of Economics and Finance of Côte d’Ivoire; Xavier Emmanuelli, president and co-founder of Médecins sans frontières and chairman of samu social (mobile emergency medical service for homeless people); Raphaël Glucksmann, co-founder of the association Études sans frontières; Brice Hortefeux, then Minister for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and United Development; Alioune Sall, executive director of the African Futures Institute think-tank and Evelyne Tall, regional director for the Ecobank group in the UMAO zone and Cape Verde.
— I would request that from the outset we change the title of this round table and call it “When Africa Awakens”; the future is no longer appropriate. tomorrow, it will be too late for the europeans and for the French in particular.
— As a statistical reminder, europe accommodates 2.6 million north African citizens and 800,000 from West Africa. Illegal immigration is estimated at approximately 30,000 people (60,000 leave every year).
Following the example of the French presidency, and because of the necessity for solidarity and an approach to demographic decline, the european Commission has been obliged to deal with the question. For the period 2007-2013, the european policy for organized migration reaches a budget of 4 billion euros, 1.8 billion being allocated to “external Borders”, 676 million to the “Return” fund, 628 million to the european “Refugee” fund, and 825 million to the european “Integration” fund. At the same time, europe finances development policies up to 46 billion euros, of which half goes to Africa.
The europe-Africa partnership — considered to be crucial for the future of europe — is henceforth envisaged from a global perspective, by linking problems relating to migration and development. It is a multidisciplinary and multilateral approach which implies bringing together the ministers in charge of immigration, labour and the economy of the various countries – along the lines of the Rabat conference, the meeting scheduled for October 2008 in Paris.
In this regard, the european Commission plans two essential objectives:
— to create partnerships in favour of mobility. It is a matter of maintaining the link between the migrants and their country of origin and of promoting the contribution of the first to the second. the flow of money from migrants to their country of origin is estimated at 4 billion euros.
— to encourage circular migration, that is to say temporary migration for a win-win strategy. thus europe will benefit from African contributions and the African states from human resources “enriched” by their stay in europe. these partnerships in favour of mobility will make it possible to define the needs – qualitative as well as quantitative — of the countries involved. the idea of creating centres for specialized training in the countries of origin has also been put forward. For example, the Indians are thinking of establishing a data base giving a list of all qualification profiles.
At the european Union level, these new policies have already taken form in two partnerships: Cape Verde and Moldavia. A further agreement is envisaged with senegal.
During its special Development Days, from 15 to 17 november 2008, the european Commission will launch the idea of twinning between African and european players (towns and enterprises). For the success of these partnerships for mobility, the european Commission is relying to a large extent on enterprises.
— A wind of change is blowing in Africa. the African private sector is becoming more and more responsible. Admittedly, direct foreign investment in sub-saharan Africa still only represents 3% of the total, but this figure is growing constantly and new partnerships are being born (China and India, for example).
Africa is also experiencing better public and private governance and a more stable growth rate. Finally, the attraction for investors has been strengthened by Africa’s recent access to the new technologies.
Following this, a new generation of leaders stemming from the African continent has made its appearance. Regional investors and local capital are playing an ever-increasing role in African investments. the eCOBAnK group is an example of this. twenty years after its creation, it is present in 26 countries, has a balance sheet totalling 6 billion dollars and stock market capitalization of 2 billion dollars. today, as proof of its dynamism, ecobank is launching a public appeal for savings in order to increase its 2.5 billion dollar capital.