Africa wants to overcome its technological lag, and the EU does not hide the hope that rising African economies will help to ease migration pressure on Europe. The negotiations in Vienna will, therefore, open up topics such as eGovernment, eCommerce, and fintech in Africa, access to sustainable energy, agriculture 4.0 and start-up investment.
The meeting will be attended by the heads of the European and African Union along with the European and African Heads of State and Government. There will also be representatives of the investor community, development agencies, and civil society.
An important part of the forum has been devoted to meetings of company representatives. On Monday, 1,026 participants from 63 countries had already registered. Most of them are from Europe and Africa but also the US, Canada, and Hong Kong. Austria has the largest representation with 494 participants, Hungary is represented by 73 representatives, Poland by 39, Germany by 34. The Czech Republic with its 27 participants has even surpassed France (22 participants) that has traditionally close relations to Africa.
Besides entrepreneurs, Babis is also accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa. By the attendance at the forum, the Czech Republic wants to strengthen its presence in Africa, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier announced its intention to open a new embassy in Mali next year. Babis also visited Morocco in early December.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, also seeks an opportunity on the African continent. In a speech in the European Parliament in October, he talked about the need for an equal partnership with the EU that could once result in a common intercontinental free trade area.