Thursday, 4 November 2021

Enterprise Greece hosted the 61st ETPO Conference in Athens (European Trade Promotion Organisations)


Enterprise Greece hosted the 61st ETPO Conference in Athens (European Trade Promotion Organisations)

Enterprise Greece, the official agency of the Greek State, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that promotes exports and attracts foreign direct investment, organized, and hosted the 61st Conference of the European Trade Promotion Organisations (ETPO) on "Connecting Europe with Africa: promoting economic cooperation and dialogue", in Athens, October 21-22, 2021.

The hybrid conference was attended by top executives and senior staff of European Trade Promotion Organisations, representatives of the European Commission's Directorates-General, international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as senior executives from European and African energy and IT enterprises.

Mr George Filiopoulos, CEO of Enterprise Greece, stressed in his opening remarks, the important role that European Trade Promotion Organisations are required to play, following the international crisis caused by the pandemic. As Mr. Filiopoulos stated: "Greece is more than ever, ready to undertake an active role in the extroversion of Greek enterprises in Africa. The fact that a Greek Embassy in Senegal was recently established under the New Extroversion Plan of Greece, gives Greek entrepreneurs the impetus to launch new business missions in North and Sub-Saharan Africa."

It is worth noting that, the 61st Hybrid ETPO Conference coincided with the European Commission's broader sub-Saharan Africa policy of developing synergies between EU Member States and African countries on issues of mutual interest. Its aim is to contribute to the development of a broader policy dialogue in view of the forthcoming European Union-African Summit in February 2022, with special emphasis on issues such as:

• The binary transition (digital and green)
• Funding tools
• Mobilisation of the private sector
• Sustainable development

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic, trade will be a key driver for economic growth. Africa, with its rapidly growing economic opportunities, is considered of high potential for many European enterprises. The European Trade Promotion Organisations should take the lead and actively support the outreach efforts of the European export enterprises and initiate mutually beneficial relationships between the two business communities.

The African Continental Association Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) paves the way towards this direction and, historically, it is considered the largest free trade agreement.

The prospects and growth opportunities that lie ahead for Africa offer new opportunities for Europe, particularly in the areas of sustainable development, green energy, and digital convergence, while the long-term strategy envisages closer public-private partnerships.