OREANDA-NEWS. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for stronger ties between Africa and European countries in a bid to boost trade between the two regions.

Stefan Nalletamby, the Bank’s Acting Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, highlighted the importance of such a relationship, noting that it would result in more equitable benefits.

Nalletamby was speaking during the European Development Days held on June 15 and 16, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Participating in a panel on Development and Trade Links and the Agenda 2030, Nalletamby emphasised the need to employ a different strategy in order to realise maximum profits from the EU/Africa relationship. “We need to rethink the way we do business. We must have a comprehensive approach which combines hard and soft infrastructure,” he said, pointing out the importance of enhancing intra-African trade.   

Other panelists were Cecilia Malmstr?m, the EU Trade Commissioner, and Arancha Gonzalez, the International Trade Centre Executive Director.

The Bank was also represented in other sessions, including a forum on “Achieving the SDGs: how can we make business more social?” Emanuele Santi, a Lead Strategy Advisor at the AfDB, spoke on the need for the global community to move beyond the often fragmented programs to support enterpreneurship and esnure greater synergy among their interventions. “If we are serious about enterprenership and building local ecosystems, we as the development community need to start behaving like an ecosystem.”

Santi referred to the Bank’s experience of rallying 20 partners from private sector, local banking system and donors in Tunisia, under the Souk At-tanmia program. He also cited the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which seeks to create 25 million jobs by equipping young people with skills to help them realise their full potential.

The strategy will see the Bank join forces with the European Investment Bank to support new innovative ventures in a synergic manner. The two institutions will complement each other, deploy interventions, combine equity investments and venture capital funds, as well as offer support to incubation and to ecosystem building. 

The European Development Days is the European Commission’s annual gathering, which brings the development community together to share ideas and best practices in the field of development.