Category Archives: Aid

EU increases development fund

The European Commission proposes a long-term budget of €1,135 billion in commitments(expressed in 2018 prices) over the period from 2021 to 2027, equivalent to 1.11% of the EU27’s gross national income (GNI).

This level of commitments translates into €1,105 billion (or 1.08% of GNI) in payments (in 2018 prices).

This includes the integration into the EU budget of the European Development Fund – the EU’s main tool for financing development cooperation with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and which to date is an intergovernmental agreement. Taking into account inflation, this is comparable to the size of the current 2014-2020 budget (including the European Development Fund).

Created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome and launched in 1959, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU’s main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs). The total financial resources of the 11th EDF amount to €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020.

Aid workers freed in South Sudan

Ten aid workers who were taken by an armed group last week in South Sudan were returned to the capital Juba on Monday (30/04/2018) by a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The aid workers were transported by ICRC aircraft from an area around Yei to the capital. “The ICRC has a long-standing record as a neutral intermediary in these kinds of situations. We are pleased that these ten aid workers will now be able to return to their families,” said François Stamm, the head of delegation for the ICRC in South Sudan.

The ICRC said it provided the transportation of the released aid workers with the consent of all the parties involved and was not involved in any negotiations. None of the aid workers were ICRC staff members.

Donor conference for Congo raised $500

The UN  donor conference in Geneva,  raised half a billion dollars to ease what it calls a major humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In response DRC government has refused to attend the event, alleging that the UN has exaggerated the scale of the problem.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, described the ongoing crisis in DRC as one of the world’s ‘largest humanitarian crises”.

UN officials said they hoped DR Congo’s diplomats would change their minds and participate, underlining that nowadays there are more than three million people in need, more than two million acutely malnourished children, and 4.5 million people displaced from their homes.

Mimica supports small business in South Africa

Neven Mimica Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development is visiting South Africa, where he is meeting the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, and the Minister for Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu.

The new EU programme “Employment Promotion through small, micro and medium enterprises Support Programme for South Africa” worth €52 million will help to boost job creation in South Africa, while the new Enhancing Legislature Oversight Programme of €10 million will strengthen democracy and good governance.

“Ten years after the establishment of a strategic partnership with South Africa, the European Union remains very much engaged with the country as a crucial regional and global player”, – on the occasion, Commissioner Mimica said. “We are looking forward to enhancing our relations with President Ramaphosa and his administration. The fight against unemployment, poverty and inequality are at the heart of our common agenda and I am happy to launch two programmes, worth a total €62 million, in line with those priorities, during my visit.’ 

Vicegrad4 pledges millions for African migrants in Italy

The Vicegrad4 group of countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have vowed to contribute amount of 35 million euro to support Italy in projects aiming at stopping illegal migration from Libya. The pledge was announced  ahead of an EU summit in Brussels focusing on issues including illegal mass migration in first ranks.

“We want to demonstrate that solidarity is something that we fully respect,” Fico told journalists after a meeting of Visegrad Group leaders with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Gentiloni thanked the Visegrad Group  for the financial pledge, but said mandatory migrant quotas were a “minimum requirement” by the EU.

After arriving in Brussels for the summit, Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said earlier that Poland’s stance on refugees was becoming better understood:/ “We will be presenting our approach to relocation policy, to policy on refugees… I am very happy that this approach is becoming increasingly understood in Brussels,” Morawiecki said to presse.

In spite of the mounting pressure from Brussels no relocation of migrants from Italy to any of Vicegrad group countries was offered. The major focus of V4 group to end illegal migration to Europe remains unchanged.

Africa to benefit from EU €44 billion of EU investment

The European Commission has defined concrete areas of investments for its External Investment Plan. The new plan will mobilise €44 billion of sustainable investment for Africa and the EU Neighbourhood countries (Eastern Partners – EaP).

 

The European Commission singles out five areas of investment, so-called “investment windows”, in which the first actions of the External Investment Plan (EIP) will be implemented. These investment areas are crucial for the sustainable development in countries in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood countries.

“The European External Investment Plan is the largest ever investment programme for Africa. Today, only four per cent of global foreign direct investment goes to Africa. With the European External Investment Plan, we can raise at least €44 billion in private investment by 2020, notably for the most fragile parts of the continent. I hope and I expect that others will join this effort. This is a strong signal of the strengthened partnership with Africa as we are heading towards the AU/EU Summit next week” – Federica Mogherini, EU top diplomat said.

“With today’s decision we are setting the agenda for sustainable investments. Unlocking the potential of sustainable energy, promoting digitalisation for development or supporting micro, small and medium sized enterprises will help us to create sustainable development and reduce poverty, for the benefit of all” – Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added.

“The investment windows represent real opportunity for many people and businesses in partner countries and in the European Union. Involving the private sector and securing the most conducive environment for it to flourish will contribute to sustainable growth, which is what we aim for” – Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented. ‘The External Investment Plan will bring tangible results for citizens across our Neighbourhood and beyond, contribute to job creation and greater competitiveness, stronger economy, governance, connectivity, and a stronger society.”

The five investment windows include:

  • “Sustainable Energy and Connectivity” – to attract investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transport.
  • “Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Financing” – to improve MSME’s access to finance. Such businesses are the main employers in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood, and offer important and more sustainable alternatives to the informal economy.
  • “Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Entrepreneurs and Agribusiness” – to provide better access to finance for smallholders, cooperatives and micro, small and medium sized enterprises agribusiness, allowing to address food security issues.
  • “Sustainable Cities” – to mobilise investments in sustainable urban development of municipal infrastructure, including urban mobility, water, sanitation, waste management, renewable energy services.
  • “Digital for Development” – to promote investments in innovative digital solutions for local needs, financial inclusion and decent job creation.

MEPs for ‘new’ EU-Africa strategy

Economic, migratory and social problems, coupled with protracted crises, require new responses and better cooperation between the African Union and the EU.

In order to give new impetus to cooperation and the development of African nations, MEPs recommend a new EU-Africa strategy also aimed at strengthening the resilience of African countries, in a resolution adopted on Thursday.

Their key suggestions are to:

  • establish a frank dialogue on promoting good governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and combating corruption, but link development aid to these being strictly respected,
  • step up European peace and security actions, in close cooperation with African and international partners,
  • provide more substantial European help for sustainable agriculture, small-scale farmers, national education systems and combating climate change,
  • start an intense EU-African Union dialogue before negotiations for the two UN global compacts on migration and refugees begin in 2018.

First and foremost, member states must live up to their promises to finance an EU trust fund fostering growth and job creation, and should refrain from making development aid conditional on cooperation in migration matters.

The non-legislative resolution was backed by 419 votes to 97, with 85 abstentions.

“Strengthening the EU-Africa partnership will contribute to the development of both continents and help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The EU is a major contributor to Africa’s development, trade and security, but it must continue to invest, especially in education to offer prospects for younger generations. Our future is interlinked, so we must act together” – Rapporteur Maurice Ponga (EPP, FR) said.

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