EU officials, firms meet African leaders to talk investment

Published 12-18-2018

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BERLIN (AP) - European officials and companies met with African leaders in Vienna Tuesday for talks intended as a springboard to increase investment in Africa.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said investments of around 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) could materialize as a result of guarantees and other arrangements presented at the meeting.

Those plans call for 75 million euros of EU funds to be used to leverage up to 750 million euros of investments in businesses in Africa, benefiting those who usually struggle to get affordable loans.

Separately, a fund worth 45 million euros is meant to help smallholder farmers access funding and attract more than 200 million euros in investments. Programs also are planned to support solar power plants in Morocco and cleaning up a drain in Egypt's Nile delta.

Kurz told Austrian broadcaster ORF ahead of the meeting that he hopes this is a "good start signal for more European investment in Africa so that the African continent, when it comes to investment, isn't just conceded to the Chinese."

African Union Chairman Paul Kagame, Rwanda's president, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi were among the leaders on hand for the forum.

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Rwanda's President Paul Kagame talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, right, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte jokes at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


Rwanda's President Paul Kagame talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte welcomes Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban shakes hands with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte welcomes Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker talks with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker talks with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, from left, at the start of the EU Africa Forum in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) - The Associated Press