External aid, investment and trade as instruments to reduce economic migration, with a special focus on Africa (own-initiative opinion)

This page is also available in

ETSK:n jaoston lausunto: External aid, investment and trade as instruments to reduce economic migration, with a special focus on Africa (own-initiative opinion)

Composition of the Study Group

Administrator in charge: David Hoic

Assistant: Mariamariadolores [dot] carmonagonzalezateesc [dot] europa [dot] eu ( D Carmona)

Background info:

When it comes to development and EU-Africa relations, the EESC consistently emphasised the importance of sustainable development and cooperation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Initiatives focused on trade, investment and business relations with Africa could be welcomed, but not to the detriment of traditional development policies focusing on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EU and Africa leaders agreed in 2015 at the Valletta summit on migration on setting up the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), as the main instrument of EU external migration policy. The Fund finances the development of border protection capacities, but also long-term development policy projects so as to decrease the likelihood of further migration.

The Global Compact on Migration has for its aim to transform unregulated migration from Africa into regulated migration in order to provide migrants with opportunities that can be advantageous for host countries and for the sustainable development of their countries of origin. However, this agreement seems to go too far for several EU member states. In order to politically shape global migration movements, there should be cooperation between countries of origin and host countries, including in the areas of trade and investment.

The EU External Investment Plan (EIP) was adopted in September 2017 to help boost investment in partner countries in Africa and the European Neighbourhood. It aims to contribute to the UN's sustainable development goals (SDG) while tackling some of the root causes of migration, and to mobilise and leverage sustainable public and private investments to improve economic and social development with a particular focus on decent job creation. With an input of €4.1 billion from the EU, it should enable to mobilise up to €44 billion of private investments. Such investments would mainly be targeted on improving social and economic infrastructure, for example municipal infrastructure and proximity services, on providing support to Small and Medium-sized enterprises, and on microfinance and job creation projects, in particular for young people.

Substantial investments in Africa of non-EU players (such as China) that do not seem to insist on the principles of the rule of law and the respect of the human rights should also be taken into consideration.