Category Archives: EU-Africa

Ghana: EU sends Observation mission

In response to an invitation by the Electoral Commission of the Republic of Ghana, the European Union (EU) will deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the general elections scheduled for 7 December 2020. (Image: Ghana, Elmina port)

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Mr Javier Nart, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.

“The deployment of this Election Observation Mission confirms our long-term commitment to supporting peaceful, credible, and transparent elections in Africa and elsewhere around the world. Under the leadership of Chief Observer Mr Javier Nart, the EU EOM will provide an independent assessment of the electoral process and work together with Ghanaians to strengthen further the country’s democratic institutions” High Representative Josep Borrell said.

“It is a great honour for me to lead this Election Observation Mission, which I assume with a great sense of responsibility. For the third time the EU accompanies the election process in Ghana and I trust that state authorities, political parties and all candidates will play their part in promoting a peaceful and credible process” The Chief Observer, Javier Nart, said.

The Core Team of the EU Election Observation Mission consists of 9 election experts who will arrive in Accra on 31 October and stay until the completion of the electoral process. On 7 November, 40 Long-Term Observers will join the mission and will be deployed across Ghana’s 16 regions. Their capacity will be reinforced by up to 30 locally recruited Short-Term Observers on election day.

After election day, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Accra. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.

This EOM is the EU’s third EOM to Ghana after two in 2008 and 2016, as well as an Election Follow-up Mission in 2019.

The EU has a long-standing partnership with Ghana. We share a broad common agenda to promote regional economic integration, peace and security, democracy, rule of law and human rights as well as to tackle global challenges.

WTO: EU supports Nigerian candidate

Brussels 26.10.2020 According to an EU official the bloc has taken decision to put its weight behind the Nigerian candidate D.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed the current Director-General, Mr Roberto Azevêdo, who has announced he will step down on 31 August 2020.

Apparently the discussion took place at the latest EU Council, some member-states were not ready define their preferences, and it took a lot of effort from the president Charles Michel to reach consensus in this matter.
The choice of an African candidate is a “strong signal in support of the multilateral order”, the official added.
The decision is also symbolising the EU trust in Africa, and underlines the significance of the relations between two continents.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala brings more than 30 years of development and financial expertise to the Gavi Board. She has twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, most recently between 2011 and 2015 – a role that encompassed the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy. In 2006 she served as Foreign Affairs Minister. She has also held several key positions at the World Bank, including as Managing Director.

As a former Finance Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s experience and expertise are particularly valuable as Gavi strives to ensure that immunisation programmes are financially sustainable. Her strong commitment to finding private sector solutions to development challenges further contributes to Gavi’s mission.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is currently a senior adviser at Lazard and serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Center for Global Development, among others. She is also the chair of African Risk Capacity, a specialised agency of the African Union to help member states prepare for and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Being one of renown economists, she was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 greatest world leaders in 2015, and by Forbes for five consecutive years as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. In 2014, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was recognised by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Dr.Okonjo-Iweala is the author of several books including “Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria”, published in 2012.

A development economist and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been the Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since 1 January 2016.

EU expects negotiated solution for Ethiopia Grand Dam

Brussels 26.10.2020 The European diplomacy fully supports the efforts of South Africa, the African Union chair, to conclude talks between Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan on Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile with a successful agreement to advantage of all inhabitants of the Blue Nile basin.

“Over 250 million of citizens of the Blue Nile basin stand to benefit from the predictable agreement based on the negotiated arrangement for the filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, they are expecting the investment in water security, aggregation, agricultural production, and electricity generation” the EU spokesperson said, reacting upon the resumption of the talks from October 27 after two months pause, caused by the departure of Egypt delegation.

“The agreement of the filling of the gerd is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, now is the time for action, and not for increasing tensions. The efforts of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union to bring the parties to the negotiated solutions have the full support of the European Union which looks for to the imminent resumption and successful conclusion of the talks” the spokesperson added.

Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over a giant multi-billion dollar dam on the Blue Nile will resume on Tuesday,October 27, nearly two months after Egypt delegation left the talks, African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said on October 26, Monday.

A dispute between the three countries over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) remains unresolved even after the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

“The resumption of the trilateral negotiations on the GERD … is a reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process,” Ramaphosa, who is South Africa’s president, said in a statement.

EU increases support to Sahel

Brussels 20.10.2020 Today, the European Union, Denmark and Germany and the United Nations co-host a virtual Ministerial Roundtable on Africa’s Central Sahel region, with the participation of donors and international organisations, as well as the countries concerned: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The event will discuss longer-term perspectives for countries in the region to overcome the spiral of violence and humanitarian crises they are currently facing. It also aims at mobilising support for the region, especially as coronavirus pandemic increases humanitarian needs.

Representing the EU at the event, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, will pledge a total of €43.6 million on behalf of the EU to the three countries in the Central Sahel region for the rest of 2020.

“Throughout recent years, the EU has been particularly committed to the Sahel and international support provided has been significant. Yet, the security, social and humanitarian situation in Central Sahel is only deteriorating. In face of this dramatically worsening situation, together – the international community and the governments concerned – we must do better, more and act fast. Only by addressing the deep-rooted causes can we succeed in providing a better life to the people caught in the crises afflicting the region” Lenarčič said.

“Today’s conference is a very clear sign of our solidarity towards the Sahel region and its people. Our €20 million support to the World Food Programme will help the most vulnerable in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and especially pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children. We hope to assist 65,000 people next year with this project. If we all join forces along the peace-development-humanitarian nexus and our partner countries take responsibility for improving governance and reforms, I am convinced that we can make a difference for the people in the Sahel. Team Europe will keep on supporting the people of Sahel” Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships said.

The EU’s pledge consists of: €23.6 million in funding for humanitarian actions in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
€20 million in development funding to address the food crisis afflicting the Central Sahel region, in cooperation with the World Food Programme.
Overall, EU and the EU Member States have mobilised around €8 billion since 2014 to help stabilise the Sahel region.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are at the core of one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises created by a combination of conflict, climatic changes and poverty. It is estimated that a staggering 13.4 million people across the Central Sahel are in need of humanitarian assistance.

In 2020, the EU has mobilised a total €84.6 million in humanitarian assistance for Central Sahel countries, including the amount that will be pledged today. In June 2020, the EU also organised two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Burkina Faso, carrying 26 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and equipment needed for the coronavirus response in the country.

Since 2014, the EU has invested more than €3.4 billion in development cooperation for the three Central Sahel countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with the objective to strengthen the capacities of the state in the long term, while providing a short and medium-term response to the needs of the most vulnerable population. The investments covered a broad range of areas: from security; good governance; transparency; public finance; the respect of human rights to basic social services (education, food security and health).

Libya: Putin’s aid under sanctions

The Council today imposed targeted restrictive measures on one person engaged in and providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo. The sanctions imposed against this person comprise a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

Russian citizen Yevgeny Prigozhin participates and helps the activities of the Wagner PMC in Libya, which threatens peace, stability and security in the country. In particular, Wagner is involved in numerous and repeated violations of the arms embargo in Libya, established by the UN Security Council resolution, the EU document reads.

Restrictive measures include a travel ban to the European Union and an asset freeze.

In September, the UN committee of experts on overseeing the observance of sanctions accused 11 companies, including PMC Wagner, reportedly owned by Prigozhin, of violating the arms embargo on Libya. According to experts, in May Wagner company provided 800-1200 mercenaries to help the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.

The media reports claimed that Russians from Prigozhin’s company are not only training soldiers of the army of LNA Marshal Khalifa Haftar, but also participating in combat operations, and supporting them with logistics. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin suggested that there might be presence of Russians in Libya, adding that they “do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

“If there (in Libya) there are Russian citizens, then they do not represent the interests of the Russian state,” Putin said during a press-conference in January 2020. They also “do not receive money from the Russian state,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly denied the presence of PMC Wagner’s mercenaries in the region. At the same time, Haftar’s LNA admitted that “a small number of Russians” help them with the maintenance of weapons. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke about the presence of Russian fighters in Libya.

In addition to the Wagner PMC, the UN accused 10 more companies that provided logistical support to the LNA of violating the arms embargo. These are airlines registered in Kazakhstan, Syria, Ukraine, Tajikistan, as well as two companies from the UAE.

With this new designation, the EU now has imposed a travel ban on 16 listed individuals and an asset freeze on 20 persons and 19 entities.

The Council remains gravely concerned about the situation in Libya and in particular about the acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo, human rights abuses and violations as well as the attempted illicit export of petroleum from Libya.

The EU’s sanctions complement and reinforce the sanctions adopted by the UN, which include the UN arms embargo and individual measures, including for human rights abuses.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

Recently Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has detained Abdalrahman al-Milad, a coastguard commander sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged human trafficking and migrant smuggling, its interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said it had detained Milad at the request of the U.N. Security Council and that it had referred the case to the public prosecutor to take legal measures against him.

Milad heads a coastguard unit in Zawiya, just west of Tripoli, and was one of six people sanctioned by the U.N. for involvement in people trafficking or smuggling in Libya two years ago.

#EUCO: Africa high on agenda

The European Council taking place in Brussels on October 15-16 will also discuss EU-Africa relations. At present the EU and the African countries and cooperate through multiple frameworks such as:
the Cotonou agreement; the joint Africa-EU strategy; and in addition to these frameworks, the Council has adopted three regional strategies for the: Horn of Africa; Gulf of Guinea; and Sahel.
Africa-EU relations also take place through formal dialogues, such as the EU-Africa summits.

At present the centre of attention of the EU leaders will be focused on the post-Cotonou agreement is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It covers the EU’s relations with 79 countries, including 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The #EUCO will discuss, among other things, resetting & deepening the EU- Africa Partnership” Commissioner in charge of international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen wrote on her Twitter micro blog. “We need to invest in the infrastructures and digitalisation – and in education, which, of course, is the key if we want to increase the employment rate.”

Flèche vers la droite”We need to invest in the infrastructures & digitalisation – and in education, which, of course, is the key if we want to increase the employment rate.”

The joint Africa-EU strategy was adopted in 2007 as the formal channel for EU relations with African countries. This strategy was agreed by the African Union and EU institutions, as well as by African and EU countries. It is implemented through periodical action plans. In 2014, EU and African countries agreed on the roadmap for 2014-2017. This roadmap sets out five key priorities and areas for joint action.

Mozambique: EU offers security support

The European Union will offer Mozambique support in addressing a wave of militant attacks in the country’s north by rebels with links to international terrorist groups, the EU’s ambassador to the southern African nation informed via his Twitter micro blog on October 9. Militant attacks in Cabo Delgado grew by 300% in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to Amnesty International.

The rebel attacks in Cabo Delgado province date back to 2017 but the violence has gathered pace this year with insurgents seizing important towns for brief periods and hitting military and other strategic targets.

Mozambique had asked the EU for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency, which has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.

“The government of Mozambique has asked for help and we will give, but it is more aid in terms of training, logistics and medical services for the forces that are fighting terrorism in northern Mozambique,” the EU’s ambassador to Maputo, Antonio Sánchez Gaspar, said.

“So far all of our efforts have been on the humanitarian emergency and development side. We will continue to make efforts on the security side, which is just beginning,” he said.

Rights group Amnesty International last month accused Mozambican soldiers of committing atrocities in the northern conflict zone, but the defence ministry dismissed the reports, saying militants regularly impersonated soldiers.

A growing Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique entered its fourth year this week, with experts saying there is no end in sight for a conflict that has killed and displaced thousands of people.

Since the first attack in 2017 by al-Shabaab in the province of Cabo Delgado, militants have taken control of territory in the northern province, including a strategic port, and burned down dozens of villages. Al-Shabaab is considered the Mozambique affiliate of Islamic State.

The United Nations says the violence has forced over 300,000 people to flee their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of Cabo Delgado and neighboring provinces. More than 2,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

The Republic of Mozambique has a very young and rural-based population. Since the end of the 15 year long civil war, Mozambique has had a high economic growth rate linked to economic reform and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors. The country is highly exposed to climate hazards, such as droughts, floods, and coastal storms, and will need to adapt to climate change.

Mozambique’s development is expected to improve thanks to the country’s important reserves of coal and natural gas provided that security and stability are achieved in these regions

EU officials visit to Horn of Africa

Brussels 10.10.2020 Senior European officials have concluded their two-day visit to Ethiopa visit aimed at uplifting the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) in the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, inspected 1.5 tons of coronavirus testing kits which were donated to Ethiopia by Germany.

This is an important expression of the European Union role in the fight against pandemic and how we do that with our partners from the African Union,” Borrell said at an airport cargo hall in Addis Ababa, surrounded by thousands of boxes containing the test kits.

Lenarcic stressed that the European Commission wants any future COVID-19 vaccine to be treated as “a global public good” which should be available to all countries irrespective of their purchasing power.

Later on Octobrr 8, Borrell met Moussa Faki, the chairperson of the AU Commission.

“… The European Union, as Africa’s close neighbour and main partner, strongly supports the African Union efforts in silencing the guns on the continent” the head of the EU diplomacy said addressing the webinar on the role of the media in promoting silencing the guns of Africa.

 

“And here, Commissioner [of the African Union for Peace and Security, Smaïl] Chergui, our cooperation aiming at sustainable peace and conflict prevention is at the top of our common agenda. It also fosters inclusive and accountable governance and recognises the role of civil society, the media, and democratic institutions”  Borrell has underlined.

“Allow me to commend the work of journalists, specifically here, in Africa, and all over the world, for their commitment to ensure that all voices calling for peace are being heard. Voices that will eventually silence the guns because they are more powerful. Your work is crucial in providing reliable and credible analysis and acting as a bridge between local communities and policy makers. I can assure you that the European Union will continue to be a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of the African Union master roadmap for silencing the guns”  the EU top diplomat Borrell said during the webinar.

In May this year the EU has provided an additional €105.5 million to countries in the Horn of Africa as the coronavirus pandemic risks worsening the humanitarian situation across the region where many continue to suffer from armed conflict, displacement, and recurrent droughts and floods. Furthermore, a large-scale infestation of locusts threatens food security and livelihoods of many vulnerable people in the region.

Funding from this aid package to humanitarian projects in Djibouti (€500,000), Ethiopia (€42 million), Kenya (€15 million) and Somalia (€48 million).

EU supports Mali transition

“The European Union welcomes the appointment of the President of the Transition Mr. Bah N’daw, the Prime Minister Mr. Moctar Ouane, as well as the entry into office of a government paving the way for a civil transition in Mali for a period 18 months. The European Union welcomes the lifting of the sanctions adopted against Mali following the events of August 18, after several weeks of negotiations carried out with determination by the Economic Community of West African States”, reads the statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the appointment of the President of the Transition and the new government.

“These conditions now being met, the European Union is ready to support the Transition on the one hand, to organize credible elections leading to the reestablishment of constitutional order, and on the other hand to carry out priority reforms to deal with structural challenges. and long term from Mali. This transition period constitutes an important window of opportunity to recreate a national pact around more accountable and more inclusive public institutions, as has been clearly expressed by the Malian people. As part of a demanding partnership, the European Union will be particularly attentive to concrete actions, particularly in the areas of governance, the fight against impunity, the fight against corruption, more efficient, more transparent and more accountable management. defense and security forces, as well as a more effective presence of State services in the most fragile regions for the benefit of the populations. The implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, as underlined by President N’daw in his inaugural address, remains an imperative”.

The Gambia: EU concerns over constitution review

“The European Union has been at the forefront of support to the democratic transition in The Gambia since 2017 and to the reforms aiming at entrenching democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Over the last months, it has observed with growing concern a marked slowdown in the pace of the reform process and in particular noted the recent important setback with the rejection of the draft new Constitution. It is key for the 2021 Presidential elections to take place on the basis of a new social contract” reads the statement of the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell.

“The constitutional review process is linked to other pillars of the democratic transition, in particular the transitional justice process with the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), as well as the Security Sector Reform (SSR). It therefore remains important to lay the foundations for the follow-up of these processes. Moreover, taking forward other significant reforms, such as the revision of the Public Order Law, media and access to information laws prior to the 2021 Presidential elections, requires decisive Government action.

“The European Union calls upon the Government to take the lead in building the necessary national consensus around the future direction of the democratic transition, with a new Constitution at its core”  the EU top diplomat wrote.

In December 2017, the National Assembly of the Gambia had established a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to draft a new statute book to replace the 1997 constitution, which many analysts believed had many undemocratic provisions. This constitution had been drafted three years after a military coup led by Yahya Jammeh, who amid high drama was overthrown, by a seven-party political alliance loosely called Coalition 2016.

But since then Gambian President Adama Barrow has walked out from the coalition that brought him to power and has launched his political party he National People’s Party (NPP).

Experts say that that the country’s transition that received praise from the international community and counted as one of the successes of post-dictatorial democratic transition on the rocks. They say, that democracy has become trapped under the complexities of power struggle.

After registering his new party in January, Barrow made it clear that he plans to run for president again in 2021, although he indicated when he was elected that he would be a one-term president.

The constitution bill would have created a two term limit, with the President serving five years per term. A clause in the bill for a transitional president, such as Barrow, would have his current term counted as one term.

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