Juncker supports private sector role in international development.

14-Sep-2016 @ 20:00

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A conference could be staged in the New Year and talks started with private investors following the announcement today by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker of an investment plan for Africa.

In his State of the EU speech today President Juncker said that the plan, which builds on a report steered through the European Parliament by Conservative International Development spokesman Nirj Deva MEP, would involve at least €44 billion of public and private finance and possibly up to €88 billion, depending on the support of Member States.

Mr Deva welcomed the investment, which aims to grow the economies of developing nations with private sector support and reduce the flow of economic migrants to the EU.

He said: "I am very happy these ideas have received President Juncker's support, even if he may be a little modest in his ambitions.

"I intend to stay fully engaged with the project to make sure momentum is not lost. We will look to arrange a conference early in the New Year and hopefully the Commission will begin to engage with the private sector and business communities, as well as with investment banks, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds.

"The private sector is a key partner in wealth creation in the developing world; public money can never be sufficient to achieve all our Sustainable Development Goals. It is now time to put words into action.

"We will use public and private sector money to create wealth, businesses, enterprise, jobs, small workshops, canning factories in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. Partnerships will be developed in infrastructure, energy and even social sectors such as education and health."

Mr Deva stressed the investment plan was also key to addressing the long term causes of migration.

"The thing we must understand is why are people coming to Europe," he said. "They want better opportunities, better income, better lives. They don't stay in their countries because those countries are underdeveloped, so they march with their feet to the borders of the EU.

"International development is not just about relieving poverty. It's about preventing people migrating and putting pressure on our societies. It's a two way thing."

The Commission's Regulation for the investment plan will be proposed to the Parliament and European Council in the coming months.

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