Tag Archives: food

EU €34.275M aid to Great Lakes region

This week the European Commission has announced €34.275 million in humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable people in the Great Lakes region in Africa. The aid will mainly help address urgent humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and provide continued support to Burundian refugees in the region.

Food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo is worsening the humanitarian situation. We are stepping up support, including in the eastern conflict-torn part of the country, affected by the Ebola epidemic. We also maintain our solidarity with Burundian refugees in the region. Our new aid package will provide emergency healthcare, improve hygiene conditions and access to clean water, provide protection, and give education to children caught in these crises,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola coordinator.

The bulk of the funding announced supports humanitarian measures in the Democratic Republic of Congo (€29.375 million) and refugees from Burundi in Tanzania and Rwanda (€4.3 million). The remaining €600,000 are allocated to UN agencies in Burundi and to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in neighbouring Republic of Congo.

Africa’s Great Lakes region continues to face armed conflicts and insecurity, leading to forced displacements, food shortages and malnutrition, and recurrent outbreaks of epidemics and natural disasters. The funding announced today brings the overall amount of EU humanitarian aid in the Great Lakes region in 2019 to €69.74 million.

EU committed to Africa agri-food sector

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector. The Task Force for Rural Africa delivered its final report, an agri-food and rural agenda for the new ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ unveiled by President Jean-Claude Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union speech.

 

 

 

According to the recommendations of this group of African and European experts, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government. It would institute a multi-stakeholder dialogue at all levels, starting locally, and enable a closer connection between African and European societies, business communities and governments.

Agriculture and rural development policy is leading the way in EU-Africa political cooperation. The Task Force Rural Africa is at the centre of this work: its recommendations explore ways to boost public and private investment, to exchange best practice and share knowledge, and to deepen policy cooperation across the board;” agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said.

 

 

 

 

This is a very important day for the Africa-Europe Alliance. Today we have seen the hard work of the Task Force on Rural Africa culminate in concrete recommendations. Now it is up to us to come together, take these valuable recommendations forward and devise solutions that can deliver what we all want: a positive rural transformation, and an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector,” International development and cooperation Commissioner Neven Mimica said.

African Union (AU) Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture Josefa Sacko said: “The Task Force report recognises the new reality of Africa and Europe as global partners on an equal footing. It demonstrates that farmers and the food industry should work hand in hand to take on the new opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area will offer and also, build the regional markets needed for Africa’s long term food security.”

Launched in May 2018 by the European Commission, the Task Force was set up to provide advice on strengthening the Africa-Europe partnership in food and farming. The European Commission will ensure follow-up and implementation of several actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of African agri-food sector and rural economy.

Building on some of the short term recommendations made by the Task Force, the European Commission will start implementing the following projects:

  • Twinning and exchange programmes between African and European agricultural bodies: the Commission has just launched a Pilot Vocational Education and training initiative with Africa of €5 million. Additional funds from the EU budget will be made available for other twinning programmes for rural women’s organisations, farmer organisations and cooperatives, businesses and public entities with their peers.
  • AU-EU Agribusiness platform: recognising the key role the private sector can play for structural transformation in Africa, the Commission proposes to set up a platform to link European and African businesses. This platform is expected to help identify challenges and opportunities for private investment and trade between the two continents.
  • Innovation hubs: to support ‘agripreneurs’ and the African agri-food sector, innovation hubs can be established or strengthened with the aim of applying practical knowledge. These hubs would bring together national research, higher education systems, farmers, their organisations and the private sector to facilitate –amongst others- digital innovation and skills development.

The report handed over today is a landmark in the process towards more cooperation between the EU and Africa in the agri-food sector, identifying four strategic areas of action for the medium to long term: job creation, climate action, sustainable transformation of African agriculture and development of the African food industry and markets.

To make this an open and inclusive process, the Commission will launch an online consultation to gather direct feedback from African stakeholders on the Task Force’s strategic approach and on the state of play of the agri-food trade and cooperation between our two continents. Together with today’s report, the outcome of this consultation will feed into the third AU-EU agricultural ministerial conference in Rome, planned for June 2019.

Effective follow-up will also be ensured through the setting-up of an implementation group composed of ministerial and private representatives from both Africa and the EU. The group will be presented at the ministerial conference in Rome.

SA: Listeria victims death toll at rise

The death toll from an outbreak of listeria in South Africa has jumped beyond 60 in the past month, health authorities said, adding they had closed a poultry abattoir where the bug that causes the disease had been detected.

Since monitoring of the outbreak began last January, 720 laboratory-confirmed cases of food poisoning due to the disease, also known as listeriosis, have been reported, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

That was up from 557 in December, since when recorded deaths had risen to 61 from 36.

A food microbiologist said the “alarming” outbreak appeared to be the biggest ever recorded and could spread further if it was not tackled urgently.

 

Ansip: Digitisation is reshaping Africa

Keynote speech by Vice-President Ansip at the opening ceremony of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Today, we face one simple question. How to provide enough jobs for young people in Africa?

There is no obvious or simple answer.

I can, however, offer a partial answer: Africa’s private sector.

 

It can help to tackle youth unemployment. It can help to provide sustainable quality jobs and create inclusive growth.

By 2035, according to the IMF, sub-Saharan Africa will have more working-age people than the rest of the world’s regions combined.

Such a rapid rate of growth should be encouraging for the region.

But how do you create enough jobs to absorb a growing labour force with hundreds of millions of new workers?

We are not just talking about numbers of jobs. They should also be decent and sustainable.

For young people, and here I quote the International Labour Organization, job quality is a major concern – especially in emerging and developing countries.

If it does not satisfy, employment becomes vulnerable. People think about looking for a better life elsewhere with better conditions.

Quality jobs matter – for people, and for a country’s development.

This Business Forum will look at areas where the situation could be improved.

Not only how to create the best conditions for long-term private investment, but also how to support jobs for young people – especially women.

By connecting and developing business partnerships: locally, regionally and beyond. By going digital as far as possible. And by developing the right skills, matching them with market needs.

That is why we are all here today.

I often hear the message that money is not always the sole issue.

Yes, investment is vital.

But it has to be targeted and considered to get the maximum benefit.

I mentioned the importance of job support for youth and women.

Both of these themes will run through our discussions today.

There is a long list of how the private sector can help. More access to finance, improving financial and business advisory services, vocational training, mentorship – just to start with.

Our EU’s External Investment Plan addresses many issues relevant to Africa. It identifies priority areas for investment, including support for businesses of all sizes, including micro-startups. It focuses on three of our discussion areas: sustainable energy, agriculture and the digital economy.

Briefly, with sustainable energy, Africa has huge potential.

At the moment, its largest source of electricity generation is based on fossil fuels, despite this being the world’s most expensive way of producing energy.

Agriculture’s importance to the African economy is well known.

If you include post-harvest activities, agriculture-related industry accounts for nearly half of all economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa has huge amounts of fertile and unused land. But it spends many billions of euros every year to import food.

Digitisation is reshaping Africa, where about half of the continent’s population now owns a mobile phone.

In some countries, more people have access to a mobile phone than to clean water, a bank account or electricity. The explosion in mobile payments has created more financial inclusion than ever before.

But there is still a long way to go.

And it is where Europe can help, with the DSM and our D4D initiative. To invest in digital infrastructure, develop the right skills, help emerging tech startups to grow and scale up; to encourage cross-sector digital services like e-government, e-health and e-agriculture.

It is how we can form a digital partnership between EU and African digital entrepreneurs.

But to succeed in all these areas, we need the involvement and commitment of investors and the business community.

They are the ones taking the opportunities. But most of all: the risks.

That requires political commitment from governments and decision-makers – to create stable and predictable environments that are based on fair competition.

This Business Forum is a chance to find the best ways to work together, to build our economies and create more jobs for our youth – on both continents.

Thank you.

Abidjan, 27 November 2017