The First Global Gateway Forum: Outcomes and Prospects

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The inaugural Global Gateway Forum, held in Brussels on October 25, was a prestigious event that gathered government representatives from over 20 countries, including 40 leaders and ministers. This event provided a significant platform for shaping international development agendas, with a strong focus on infrastructure investment. At the outset, the 27-country European Union (EU) announced that Global Gateway already had €66 billion euros (US$69.6 billion) in deals and proceeded to sign an additional €3 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) worth of new agreements during the forum.

The primary objective of the Global Gateway Forum is to foster dialogue among global leaders, including government representatives and influential stakeholders from various sectors. This dialogue revolves around international investment in infrastructure and aims to address challenges encountered by both the public and private sectors. The Forum serves as a platform to share best practices and extract valuable lessons learned.

The Forum is structured around several critical themes, each of which is crucial for sustainable development. These themes include the transition to green energy and green hydrogen, investments in education and research, the vital importance of securing critical raw materials, the development of efficient transport corridors, the manufacturing of health products, and the expansion of digital infrastructure. These areas of focus highlight the Forum’s dedication to addressing key global challenges and promoting sustainable development.

Advancing Sustainable Development: Key Outcomes of the Global Gateway Forum

The Global Gateway Forum, a platform for global cooperation, witnessed significant announcements and commitments in various sectors. This article presents a comprehensive overview of these outcomes, highlighting the EU’s commitment to promoting sustainable development, green energy transition, critical raw materials, efficient transport corridors, and educational advancements. The outcomes are categorized into different sectors for clarity.

Green Energy Transition

The EU pledged €500 million for the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) in Vietnam, aimed at fostering the country’s transition towards renewable energy. This investment underscores the EU’s support for sustainable energy solutions in the region. In partnership for Green Energy Transition, the EU and Bangladesh committed €400 million to promote renewable energy projects, contributing to a sustainable green transition in Bangladesh’s power sector.

The EU announced a €246 million package to support a greener and more sustainable future for Cabo Verde. The package includes an energy sustainability loan, support for the Cabeólica wind farm expansion project, upgrades to port infrastructure, and improved internet connectivity.

On the other hand, €146 million was allocated for the construction of the Kakono hydropower plant in Tanzania, promoting economic development and climate change adaptation. The EU allocated €60 million for the Green Economy Programme in the Philippines, assisting the country in transitioning toward a sustainable economy.

Also, the EU committed €20.4 million for the Green and Blue Pact in Comoros to enhance the country’s environmental and food resilience. The EU, in collaboration with Mauritania, launched a Team Europe initiative to support the development of green hydrogen industries, furthering the country’s energy transition. Additional cooperation actions were announced, including €13.7 million for sustainable food systems and €10 million for the blue economy.

Critical Raw Materials

A roadmap for the EU-Namibia strategic partnership on sustainable raw materials value chains and renewable hydrogen was endorsed. This partnership, supported by €1 billion in investments, outlines concrete actions for the period 2023-2025 to advance sustainable raw materials initiatives.

Transport Corridors

The EU will support a study for the development of the Walvis Bay port in Namibia, a crucial entry point for the Walvis Bay – Maputo Corridor. This initiative is part of the EU-Africa Global Gateway Investment Package, focusing on multimodal infrastructure, spatial planning, and market organization. Moreover, the EU pledged a €12 million grant for the rehabilitation and modernization of two key sections of railway lines in the Republic of Moldova, with an additional forthcoming loan of €42 million from the EIB. This project aims to enhance connectivity within Moldova and provide an essential export route for Ukraine. A €16 million blending grant was announced for improving road safety along Georgia’s East-West highway, a crucial element of Tbilisi’s connectivity ambitions along the Black Sea.

Education

Global Gateway signed a €46 million contract to support the development and implementation of policies, education, and professional development for teachers in Africa. Also, the EU committed €10 million to improve education infrastructure in Armenia, focusing on the construction of extra-curricular education and teacher training centers in the Southern part of the country. The EU pledged another €30 million to boost education in Tajikistan, contributing to the country’s educational development. Besides, an Annual Action Plan for 2023 and 2024 benefiting Kenya, including an education component, was signed, emphasizing the EU’s commitment to support Kenya’s educational sector.

The outcomes of the Global Gateway Forum demonstrate the EU’s strong commitment to advancing sustainable development, green energy transition, critical raw materials, efficient transport corridors, and educational advancements. These initiatives signify a collaborative effort to address global challenges and create a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Prospects of the First Global Gateway Forum: Navigating Post-Pandemic Economic Challenges

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has been grappling with a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The developing world, in particular, finds itself in dire need of a substantial boost in its development sectors and investment opportunities. It is within this context that the Global Gateway Forum emerges as a beacon of hope, offering significant partnership prospects for developing nations.

The Global Gateway Forum’s vision extends beyond merely facilitating investments; it aspires to lay the foundations for sustainable development in these countries. In doing so, it empowers them not only as recipients of investments but also as architects of sustainable futures in times of uncertainty.

At the heart of these prospects lies a fundamental shift in accountability. The Global Gateway Forum heralds a new era of cooperation between the developing and developed worlds. It transcends the conventional roles of donor and recipient, ushering in a paradigm where collaboration becomes the linchpin of success.

The Forum’s prospects are indeed alluring, rooted in its transformative initiatives encompassing the realms of green energy, digitalization, and inclusivity. The European Union’s commitment to these initiatives brings forth a substantial infusion of funding, underscoring its dedication to sustainable development, security, and international cooperation.

The roadmap for 2023 to 2025 provides a structured framework for action, emphasizing the integration of value chains, the promotion of environmental and social sustainability, the mobilization of infrastructure investments, capacity enhancement, research and innovation collaborations, and regulatory alignment. This roadmap serves as a strategic compass, charting a course towards a future characterized by green industrialization, economic prosperity, and sustainability.

The investment package, a cornerstone of these prospects, comprises diverse components. It includes funding for pumped storage facilities to optimize energy consumption, the expansion of wind energy capacity, the modernization of port infrastructure, and the enhancement of digital connectivity. These investments are strategic levers that can propel nations towards a sustainable and prosperous future.

Furthermore, the Global Gateway Forum prioritizes quality investments in key areas such as connectivity, healthcare resilience, sustainable transport, financial stability, agriculture, and fisheries. These commitments address critical challenges such as decarbonization, digital transformation, innovation, and the pressing issues surrounding refugee and migration flows. In doing so, they align with shared values and goals, laying the groundwork for a future characterized by resilience and progress.

The Forum extends its influence to sustainable fishing systems, the strengthening of fisheries value chains, co-financing maritime infrastructure construction, and leveraging synergies with the EU-Mauritania Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement. These initiatives highlight a holistic approach to sustainable development, recognizing the intricate interplay of various factors in achieving long-term prosperity.

Finally, the Forum emphasizes collaborative efforts with national and local governments and the private sector. It focuses on encouraging green investments, promoting sustainable bonds, and fostering the acquisition of green skills. By doing so, it places a spotlight on the imperative of eco-friendly supply chains and production processes, illustrating a firm commitment to sustainable development, resilience, and social progress.

In conclusion, the Global Gateway Forum stands as a pivotal platform for international collaboration and the advancement of sustainable development. The outcomes of this inaugural forum exemplify the European Union’s resolute commitment to fostering sustainability, green energy, and inclusive progress across diverse regions.

The prospects outlined within the Global Gateway Forum augur a promising trajectory towards green industrialization and a sustainable future. They signify a transformative shift in the dynamics of global cooperation, transcending conventional boundaries, and paving the way for nations to embark on a journey toward enduring sustainability and prosperity.

The EU’s substantial financial commitments and collaborations with nations around the world underscore its unwavering dedication to addressing critical global challenges, encompassing climate change, infrastructure development, and societal advancement. The Global Gateway Forum sets a precedent for global cooperation in these vital areas, offering a beacon of hope for a more sustainable and prosperous future on a global scale.

– S. M. Saifee Islam is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

Published in Eurasia Review [Link]