Category Archives: EU-Africa

EU: “historic moment” of Congo elections

With the holding of elections on December 30, the Democratic Republic of Congo is at a historic moment towards a democratic transition. International and local observers have spoken. The EU joins calls from, among others, the African Union Election Observation Mission and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to ensure that the results of the proclamation are in line with the vote of the Congolese people” said the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson.

All political actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have the responsibility to contribute to the success of this transition in a spirit of reconciliation and peace. The EU, for its part, remains ready to support this process in close consultation with its partners, particularly UN and African partners.”

 

 

EU condemns expulsion of Ambassador from Congo

The European Union  has condemned the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo decision to expel its ambassador ahead of the presidential elections on December, 30.

The order for Bart Ouvry to leave within 48 hours was “completely unjustified”, an EU spokesperson said.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has ordered the European Union ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, after the EU prolonged sanctions against the ruling party’s presidential candidate ahead of December 30th election.

Reportedly the foreign minister’s order, calls the ambassador’s comportment “reprehensible” and comes after weeks of pressure by Congo’s government to have the EU sanctions lifted on Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

DRC President Joseph Kabila, ending months of speculation in August, has chosen former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to be his successor in upcoming elections, the government said.

Bart Ouvry (Belgium) studied history and communication sciences. Is a Belgian Diplomat since 1986. Held successively diplomatic postings in Kuwait, in Brussels at the cabinet of the Minister for Foreign Trade, in Vienna to the IAEA, in Brussels at the Permanent Representation to the European Union and later in the Belgian European Coordination service, at the Belgian Embassy in Paris, as a Consul General and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

The EU Ambassador Bart Ouvry posted his best wishes for everyone for Christmas.

Till present there is no comment from the European External Actions Service.

AMENDED:

 

Africa-Europe Forum in Vienna

Vienna, Austria. At Africa-Europe Forum, hosted jointly by the Austrian Presidency of the EU, notably by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union for 2018, President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated Europe’s ambition for a true and fair partnership among equals between Africa and Europe. President Juncker presented the first results of the Africa–Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, just three months after its launch. The Alliance aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth.

“Europe and Africa share a long history and a bright future. This is why I proposed a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, to help attract both European and African investment and create 10 million jobs in Africa over the next five years. Translating words into action, we have already taken a series of measures to bring our ambitions to life”  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The president is accompanied to the high-level Forum by vice-president Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and Commissioner for Digital Economy Mariya Gabriel.

The Africa-Europe Alliance, announced by president Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address, focuses on four key areas. Three months on, work is already well underway in each.

The EU External Investment Plan aims to raise significant sustainable investments in Africa and European neighbourhood countries by 2020. From the €44 billion announced, programmes already in the pipeline will mobilise €37.1 billion of investments.

New projects were announced today:

  • An EU guarantee (NASIRA Risk-Sharing Facility), the first of its kind under the EU External Investment Plan, will use worth €75 million of EU funds to leverage up to €750 million of investments for entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the EU’s southern neighbourhood. Alone this is expected to create 800,000 jobs and benefit those who usually struggle to access affordable loans, such as small and medium sized enterprises, internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, women and young people.
  • A new Agri-Business Capital fund worth €45 million will support smallholder agriculture by increasing access to finance for individual smallholder farmers. It is expected to attract more than €200 million in investments and benefit as many as 700,000 households in rural areas.
  • To support the EU’s southern neighbourhood, a programme worth €61.1 million will supportsolar power plants in Morocco and €46.8 million will be invested in depolluting the Kitchener Drain in the Nile Delta region in Egypt.

Ethiopia receives €89 million EU aid

EU announces new humanitarian package for those most in need in Ethiopia.

On an official visit to Ethiopia, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced today €89 million in humanitarian support for 2018-2019 whilst visiting EU aid projects in the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia where many people have fled their homes due to internal conflict.

“Ethiopia is an important partner for the European Union. As the country undergoes profound positive political change, the EU will step up support for the most vulnerable Ethiopians. I have seen myself how crucial our EU humanitarian support is in the daily lives of displaced people. It helps them feed their children, provide them with medicines and send them to school. This is EU aid that save lives,”Commissioner Christos Stylianides said  speaking from the Quologi camp for internally displaced people near Jijiga, capital of the Somali region.

The EU funding will be used to address the needs of people displaced within Ethiopia, refugees from neighboring countries as well as tackling natural disasters such as drought. Currently there are close to three million people displaced within the country and around one million refugees from neighboring countries.

The Commissioner is holding various meetings with the Ethiopian authorities. He met Ethiopian President Ms Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa, where the Commissioner reiterated the EU’s strong partnership with Ethiopia and commitment to support the country’s reform process. In Jijiga he met with President of the Somali region, Mr Mustafa Mohammed Omar and with partners delivering aid on the ground to discuss the humanitarian situation.

The Commissioner is also due to meet representatives from the Government of Ethiopia, as well as the African Union.

Chairing rotating presidency of the European Union Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Quoloji camp earlier in December to provide additional two million euro for assisting children.

EU programmes for Horn of Africa

The European Commission has adopted eleven new programmes for the Horn of Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

“These new EU programmes, worth over €134 million in all, will help to create lasting solutions for refugees and internally displaced people, as well as support vulnerable host communities in a region that hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – 4.5 million. Our existing programmes have already yielded substantial results, but the Trust Fund’s resources are quickly depleting. If we want to keep delivering, its resources have to be replenished.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.

Six programmes, worth €65 million, have been approved to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This initiative is being piloted by several countries in the region; it helps refugee populations become self-sufficient and supports host communities.

  • In Djibouti, an €8 million programme will help integrate refugees into the country’s social protection systems, which cover health, education and employment rights.
  • In Kenya, a €17.8 million programme will boost asylum management, bolster economic self-reliance among refugees and host communities in Garissa County, and further support the development of the Kalobeyei settlement.
  • A €10 million programme in Sudan will fund educational support for refugee children, most of whom come from South Sudan.
  • A second programme, worth €3 million, will provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Uganda, an €18 million programme will improve people’s access to reliable information, training and to the justice system, including legal aid, counselling services and mobile courts.
  • In Ethiopia and Uganda, an €8.2 million Urban Displacement Pilot will encourage regional exchanges of experience and expertise to tackle the rising challenge of urban displacement.

Four national programmes have also been approved.

  • A new programme in Ethiopia worth €33.5 million will make households, communities and local authorities better equipped to manage, respond and adapt to disasters like drought and conflict.
  • In Sudan we are working to link humanitarian and development activities closer together to respond better to protracted crises. A €10 million programme will support forcibly displaced people and host communities in West Kordofan, building on the Commission’s existing humanitarian activities.
  • Another €15 million programme will address nutrition and food security issues in Sudan’s Red Sea State.
  • In South Sudan, a €5 million programme will contribute towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Last but not least, a new €5 million regional programme will make better use of financial investigation and anti-money laundering tools to disrupt human trafficking and smuggling networks.

Two existing programmes have received additional funds: The Research and Evidence Facility will receive an additional €2.5 million, and an extra €3 million will be channelled into budget support for Somalia.

The total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Horn of Africa region now comes to 69, with an overall value of €1.28 billion.

EU-AU to meet in Brussels

On the December 10 in Brussels the Council of Foreign Minister of the EU will discuss EU- African Union (AU) cooperation in view of the first inter-summit EU-AU ministerial meeting on 21-22 January.

he debate is expected to cover three main themes: political aspects: peace, security and governance;

 

Economy: investment, trade and skills; multilateralism: strengthening cooperation in support of the rules-based global order.

 

Belgium Africa Museum metamorphose

A new permanent exhibition of renovated African Museum is reflecting the image of modern Africa, focusing on present and future of the continent, taking a clear break from the concept of the past, narrating the European-centered view on African civilization. Undergoing a major reform, one century old notorious institution known as the Palace of Colonies, and later as Royal Museum for Central Africa, mainly focused on Congo, aims to get rid of the shadows of the past, without abandoning shared history.

On December 8  the African Museum opened it doors after five years renovation,  completely refurbishing the collection display in framework of a new philosophy. Next to the classical themes of masks and rituals, there are the new ones to arise, forming dazzling artifacts display telling stories of daily life and diaspora, languages and music, climate change, biodiversity, and the paradox of natural wealth.

We have developed a critical narrative of the colonial past, compared to one-sided perspective we used to offer” said the Museum Director Guido Gryseels.”We wish to become a ‘site of remembrance’ for both Belgians and Congolese, but not only a monument reminiscent of the past, much more of a dynamic platform for debate on future, welcoming all the opinions”.

We have definitely tried to develop a balanced narrative, by collating facts and memories to depict the most  comprehensive image, offering everyone an opportunity to the personal opinion of their own“, Mr. Gryseels concluded referring to a new mindset of the Museum. “We developed our approach based on the available, scientifically objective research. We morally distance ourselves from King Leopold II policy  as the ruler of the Congo Free State”. 

 

 

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