Category Archives: EU-Africa

Zimbabwe: EU demands liberation of activists

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights,» reads the Tweet of the European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, demanding immediate liberation of Tsitsi Dangarembga (pictured), the novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the lawyer.

The EU’s cooperation with Zimbabwe, under the current funding period (2014-2020), aims to preserve the country’s democracy, bring stability, and build resilience to build a strong basis for an inclusive and sustainable growth.

At present Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in more than a decade, marked by hyperinflation, a local currency that is rapidly depreciating against the US dollar and acute foreign exchange shortages. An estimated 90% of Zimbabweans are without formal employment.

The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) focuses on:

– health
– agriculture-based economic development
– governance and institution building

The 11th EDF NIP amounts to €287 million. It is in line with the country’s agenda for sustainable socioeconomic transformation (ZimAsset) and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (2018-2020).

Zimbabwe is a low income country faced with several political and development challenges. However it has an educated population, is rich in natural resources, and has great potential for agriculture and manufacturing, but its development remains constrained by political and institutional bottlenecks.

Since the early 2000s, Zimbabwe has actually seen increased poverty, economic deterioration, and frequent droughts.

EU launches CAR advisory mission

The Council today adopted a decision launching the European Union CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA).

The mission was initially established on 9 December 2019, with Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2110. Following the achievement of Initial Operational Capability, the mission will now become operational on 9 August for an initial period of two years.

Under the authority of the EU head of mission, Mr Paulo Soares, the objective of the mission will be to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the local authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.

The mission coordinates closely with the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community, as well as the other CSDP mission present in the country: EUTM RCA.

The Council today also decided that the mandate of EUTM RCA will be extended for a further two years until 19 September 2022. The decision follows the Strategic Review of the Mission.

EUTM RCA is a military training mission launched by the EU in 2016 to provide strategic advice to the Central African Republic’s political and military authorities, as well as education and training to its armed forces.

Image above: social media.

Borrell enhances efforts to protect refugees

«A new report by @Refugees shows that thousands of refugees and migrants continue to be victims of widespread and extreme abuses. The EU will enhance further its efforts to address these dramatic situations and protect these persons from the criminal bands that prey on them» the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted via his micro blog.

The spokesperson of the European Commission has clarified that the Tweet refered to the «dramatic sitution» caused by activities of the criminal bands, meaning the reiteration of the engagement, and underlining the will to increase the efforts «until the problem is solved».

«Fighting the human traffickers, and smugglers is not the only way, because there are several layers to support people, and prevent them from making this dangerous journeys, and we have been discussing this too, that we need to tackle the root causes of the migration, we need to cooperate with the countries of origin, and transit, and this is ongoing, and we are willing to enhance the cooperation even more to achieve results in terms of reducing the numbers of people, who are embarking on this journeys, reducing the number of people, who are forced to leave their homes, and make sure that those who leave are not exposed to this disgraceful and outrageous treatment, and exploitation by the smugllers and traffickers» the spokesperson has underlined.

The EU has already made the steps before, the spokesperson has reminded, mentioning the operation IRINI, to cut the flow of weapons to Libya, to enhance the UN arms embargo, but this opeation is also has a secondary task to deal with migration and fight against the smugglers. The EU has been undertaking measures, and taking steps, and is determined to continue fighting this “dramatic” situation of the refugees and migrants, the spokesperson concluded.

Image: Josep BORRELL

Borrell regrets events in Somalia

“Somalia is still on a long journey of national recovery to become free of insecurity, free of debt and free to vote leaders into power. Until that time, the leaders of the Somali nation bear a special responsibility to ensure that a consensus is achieved and maintained in national politics” reads the statement of Josep Borrell the head of the European Union, while diplomacy reacting upon recent events in the Horn of Africa.

“Regrettably, the developments in the House of the People of Somalia on Saturday represent a setback for Somalia and for the confidence of the European Union in the progress of Somalia.

“The procedures under which a motion of no confidence in the cabinet was passed did not meet minimal constitutional requirements. This vote occurred a day after the conclusion of a much anticipated meeting between the President and Federal Member States at which it was agreed that consultations would follow and a further meeting would occur on August 15. These actions entail a serious disrespect for the constitutional foundations of Somalia, on which the European Union has been investing.

“The European Union will review carefully how these events have come to pass, who bears responsibility and to what extent they deviate Somalia from the progress it was making and to which it had committed itself to its international partners”.

EU: Mali National Assembly enables way out of crisis

Presidents from five West African countries arrive in Mali on July 23 in an attempt to negotiate an end to a political crisis that affected the country and raised concerns it could undermine a regional security, and ongoing struggle against jihadists armed groups.

Endemic corruption, disputed local election results and army losses to jihadists cause massive indignation of Malians, when tens of thousands have taken to the streets,  clashing with police. The episodes of urban violence caused death of protesters in July, according to the United Nations.

The opposition, a group called M5-RFP  led by Saudi-trained Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko, announced it will not quit until President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita steps down, raising concerns in neighboring countries of a protracted political crisis.

M5-RFP demands the resignation of Keita or the satisfaction of our demands,” which include the establishment of a committee of inquiry into civilian deaths and a transitional government, the spokesperson Nouhoum Togo told international reporters.

The leaders of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Niger will meet with Keita and then Dicko and other opposition leaders at a hotel in the capital Bamako, according to the mission schedule.

They are concerned of the danger a destabilisation of Mali poses to the entire region of Sahel,  plagued by activities of militia linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State attacking neighbouring countries including Niger and Burkina Faso.

Public opposition to Keita has changed to harder tones after protesters were killed by police in early July.

The M5-RFP rejected mediation measures proposed by a mission from the West African ECOWAS bloc last week.

The European diplomacy has issued a statement, supporting the African Union efforts to find a solution for the protracted political crisis:

“The good offices mission of President Goodluck Jonathan, at the head of an ECOWAS delegation in Bamako, made it possible to move forward towards a framework of concrete and politically balanced solutions.

“The European Union joins the African Union Declaration of July 21 and encourages all political actors and civil society to fully engage in the implementation of the recommendations of the ECOWAS mission. The re-establishment of a legitimate National Assembly and a Government of National Union will enable Mali to overcome the current crisis.

“The European Union deplores the large number of deaths and injuries following the demonstrations in Bamako on Friday July 10 and the following days. It offers its condolences to the relatives of the victims, calls for an investigation to be carried out as soon as possible and for legal proceedings to be taken against those responsible”.

EU €65M aid to South Africa region

The European Commission is providing €64.7 million in humanitarian aid for countries in the southern Africa region to help support people in need dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, extreme weather conditions such as persistent drought in the region and other crises.

The EU is helping to provide life-saving assistance to impoverished households suffering from crop and livestock losses due to drought. The aid package will also strengthen the preparation and response to the coronavirus pandemic for countries in the region. In parallel, the EU is helping communities better prepare for natural hazards and reduce their impact” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

Funding from this aid package will go for humanitarian projects in Angola (€3 million), Botswana (€1.95 million), Comoros (€500,000), Eswatini (€2.4 million), Lesotho (€4.8 million), Madagascar (€7.3 million), Malawi (€7.1 million), Mauritius (€250,000), Mozambique (€14.6 million), Namibia (€2 million), Zambia (€5 million) and Zimbabwe (€14.2 million). A further €1.6 million is allocated to regional disaster preparedness actions.

The funding targets are food assistance to vulnerable households and helping farmers in the affected areas restore their means of subsistence;
– coronavirus prevention and preparedness actions to support local health systems and facilitate access to health care, protective equipment, sanitation and hygiene;
-disaster preparedness projects that also cover new needs brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. They include strengthening early warning systems and evacuation plans for communities at risk of natural hazards to having emergency stocks of personal protective equipment;
– support for children’s education and providing training to teaching staff.
Given the serious deterioration of the security situation in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, €5 million will support vulnerable people in the area.

The humanitarian aid assistance announced today comes on top of the more than €67 million allocated to the region in 2019 following the impact of the two cyclones, drought, and the economic and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

The southern Africa region has had just one normal rainy season in the last five years, with the last quarter of 2019 being one of the ten driest since 1981 for most areas, causing largescale livestock losses and damaging harvests. In many places, the current growing season is exceptionally hot and dry, while in several other parts of the region, erratic rains risk undermining harvests in 2020. In some countries, this burden comes on top of already-crippling economic woes.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to compound already significant humanitarian needs in the region.

Libya: abduction of Mrs.Shiham Sergewa

“Today marks one year since the abduction of Mrs. Siham Sergewa, an elected member of the House of Representatives from Benghazi and one of the prominent female voices in Libya. Her fate remains unknown, increasing the concerns about her safety and well-being’ reads the text of the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service on the anniversary of the abduction of member of parliament Siham Sergewa.

“Since the beginning, the European Union has been calling for the immediate release of Mrs. Sergiwa and requesting those who hold responsibilities to investigate her abduction and ensure accountability. These calls have remained unheeded and we are yet to hear that an investigation is ongoing.

“The abduction of Mrs. Sergewa is an unacceptable attack as well as an attempt to intimidate other women, journalists and human rights activists participating in the country’s political life.

“We will continue to follow closely the cases of enforced disappearances and other systematic attacks directed against the civilian population in Libya.

EU €24M aid to Uganda

The EU will provide €24 million in humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable people in Uganda in 2020, with a special focus on refugees and their host communities. In addition, the EU has also channelled €1 million to aid organisations in Uganda to support the coronavirus preparedness and control measures, in line with the national response plan to the pandemic.

“EU humanitarian support in Uganda is making a difference to the lives of many refugees who have fled South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. EU aid will provide food and health assistance, access to water and sanitation, as well as education programmes. We remain committed to continuing our support in Uganda, all the more so in these challenging times” said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

EU-funded humanitarian projects in Uganda are also adapting to the new challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, EU funded radio talk shows are raising awareness about the coronavirus and other key issues, such as child protection. Other humanitarian projects provide access to health care and in epidemics control and prevention. EU support has also helped more than 20,000 children benefit from education programmes.

EU humanitarian support in Uganda goes hand in hand with longer-term development strategies to find durable solutions and support the self-reliance of refugees and their inclusion in social protection schemes.

Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees, one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. The country applies a progressive refugee policy, which is, however, under increasing pressure due to the scale of the crisis, and overstretched services. EU humanitarian funding is helping to address the immediate life-saving needs of refugees and host communities in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework as implemented in Uganda.

EU supports East Africa in locust outbreak

The EU has mobilised a further €15 million to support the United Nations and partner countries in the fight against one of the worst desert locust outbreaks seen in East Africa in decades.

The desert locust outbreak has had a devastating impact on food security in an already vulnerable region. Efforts to halt the spread of the locust infestation have been further strained due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is why the EU is increasing its support to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) response plan and will support broader EU development cooperation and humanitarian assistance in the region.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Our friends and partners in the Horn of Africa have experienced the catastrophic consequences of this desert locust outbreak on livelihoods and food security, a situation that is aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic which has made intervention efforts more difficult. Earlier this year we demonstrated the need to react quickly to combat the outbreak. Today’s decision to increase our support shows we are determined to continue our action to tackle food insecurity as a founding member of the Global Network Against Food Crises.”

The decision coincided with an Informal Ministerial on the Horn of Africa hosted by Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, and attended by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen; African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smaїl Chergui; UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary A. DiCarlo and IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu.

The FAO has formulated a response plan, but given the continued desert locust crisis, country interventions must be scaled up to support national governments of the affected countries. The EU, together with partners in the region, is committed to containing this outbreak, anticipating its impacts on food and nutrition security and protecting the livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people across Eastern Africa and beyond.

The EU’s €15 million contribution announced today comes in addition to €42 million mobilised in early 2020 for a broad humanitarian-development approach in the region.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. Crop and food losses in affected areas can be enormous, generating direct dramatic negative impacts on agriculture and livelihoods. Local food markets can also be affected, as food availability declines, impacting on an already vulnerable population through spikes to food prices.

The situation in East Africa has rapidly deteriorated, where 27.5 million people suffer from severe food insecurity and at least 35 million more are at risk. Weather conditions have been unusually conducive to the breeding and further spreading of locusts. Damage to crop and pasture have been devastating across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and the outbreak may spread to neighbouring countries, particularly Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Yemen, Sudan, Iran, India and Pakistan are also at risk.

The FAO’s response plan estimates that around €206 million will be required for the most urgent activities for both desert locust control and agricultural livelihood protection and recovery.

EU-Italy provide aid to Somalia

“The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Mogadishu from Brindisi, Italy, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian civil society organisations and international NGOs. Two other flights to Somalia will take off from Brindisi in the coming days, with additional material on board, bringing the total of cargo to 42 tonnes.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation will support the coronavirus response in Somalia with personal protective equipment and medical material. In addition, the flights are helping humanitarian organisations transport supplies needed to reinforce their projects in the recently flood-hit areas in Somalia. Given the urgency of the needs, the EU accorded utmost importance that these flights are operated at the earliest possibility,” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation is a tangible demonstration of a functioning and efficient Team Europe approach, strongly supported by Italy. The Italian Cooperation has a long-standing presence in Somalia, and through this important joint operation, and also thanks to all participating partners and to the collaboration of the humanitarian hub in Brindisi, we can bring additional aid and relief to the Somali population” Emanuela C. Del Re, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Somalia have been put in place thanks to a cooperation between the European Commission and Italy. The flights are being facilitated by the Humanitarian Logistics Network and have been organised in coordination with the Somali authorities and the Delegation of the European Union in Mogadishu. The totality of the transport costs are financed by the European Commission, humanitarian organisations provide the cargo.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations form part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic within the ‘Team Europe’ approach, bringing together the EU and its Member States. The total Team Europe’s support to Somalia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic amounts to around €55 million. This funding helps to strengthen the health system, support the economy in these challenging times, train health staff and reinforce social support systems. As part of this package, the EU just announced a €5.85 million development programme to enhance coronavirus preparedness, response, and mitigation for internally displaced people (IDPs) and people living in the most vulnerable situations in Mogadishu. This programme will be based on previous and ongoing work on long-lasting solutions under the EU Trust Fund for Africa that support the city administration to deliver basic services in IDP settlements.

Somalia has suffered for decades from prolonged conflict combined with extreme weather, especially recurrent droughts and floods. Against a background of widespread poverty, it is now also facing the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years and a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak.https://twitter.com/fabiomassimo85/status/1279865042578616322?s=21

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