New Africa Business Development Forum. The future of the Mediterranean

15 November 2023. From 13:00  To 14:30 | Conference | English | Casa Llotja de Mar Passeig d’Isabel II, 1 Barcelona
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As we embark on the path towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and interconnected world, the imperative need for robust connectivity between regions has never been more evident. In an era of rapid globalisation and the pursuit of sustainable development, creating solid links between the EU and Africa is not merely a strategic choice but a moral imperative. The shared challenges of climate change, economic development, security, and global health crises demand a united and proactive approach. 

With a special focus on the private sector, this edition of the New Africa Business Development Forum (NABDF) aims to provide a platform for business and economic cooperation. The NABDF is celebrated in the framework of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders (MedaWeek Barcelona) a two-day conference dedicated to promoting the Mediterranean region worldwide. This event endorses the key economic sectors and the cultural values of this region through a wide variety of forums. MedaWeek Barcelona serves as the main meeting point for voicing the interests of the private sector in the socio-economic development of the Mediterranean countries.

NABDF celebrates its 20th anniversary: 20 years at the service of a better integrated and more prosperous Africa. Over the years, the event has brought together representatives of ministries and members of the world of business and politics, who all share the conviction of the economic development of the continent. 

This 20th edition of the NABDF comes at a pivotal moment, as both the EU and African nations recognize the necessity of collaboration to address common challenges and seize opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of reliable supply chains, efficient transportation of essential goods, and digital connectivity for remote work, education, and healthcare. In parallel, the climate crisis makes the transition to a zero-carbon economy more urgent than ever. Enhancing connectivity through transport, energy, and digital infrastructure would help achieve critical progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Recent developments are providing the necessary potential to achieve a greater connectivity between Europe and Africa. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a decisive step towards a more integrated Africa and provides opportunities for international businesses. Concurrently, the EU has launched its Global Gateway initiative that places Africa at the centre of its efforts to promote investment in connectivity links around the world with a package of EUR 150 billion for the continent.  

In this context, the Mediterranean region will naturally play the role of bridge between Europe and Africa. Northern African countries which have enjoyed a special relationship with the EU, are increasingly looking south with the aim to develop strategic corridors with Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with tremendous potential of economic development. They can not only emerge as Europe’s hub for nearshoring but connect Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe for greater and shared economic and development benefits. 


Roger Albinyana, Managing Director, European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) 

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