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September 2017
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Monday, 25 September 2017
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel and the President of the European Investment Bank, Philippe Maystadt, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of a Trust Fund in support of infrastructure in Africa. The Trust Fund is a financial instrument of the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure, one of the pillars of the new EU Strategy for Africa proposed by the Commission and approved by the European Council in December 2005. In the start-up phase (2006-2007) the Commission intends to mobilise up to € 60 million in grants and the EIB up to € 260 million in loans for the operation of the Fund. Participation in the Trust Fund is open to EU Member States, their Development agencies and financial institutions. Infrastructure is key element for sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction, in line with the Millennium Development Goals. There can be no stable growth without a strong network of infrastructure for transport, energy, water and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Launching this new initiative for Development in Africa, Commissioner Michel said: “This is an innovative tool that can really make the difference and support a long awaited African request. No single donor can face the enormous challenge of financing the basic infrastructure of the Continent. Therefore we must joint our efforts, everyone from his competence. I invite all Member States to channel a substantial amount within their recent commitments to increase aid into this ambitious project.” The Trust Fund addresses the strong African demand for infrastructure to boost trade and growth. Its priorities for intervention are trans-African networks for transport, energy, water, and ICT. “Ownership” by its beneficiaries is a key principle of this initiative and, therefore, African partners and institutions are associated closely to the process. It is estimated that current investment in infrastructure in Africa needs to be doubled with an initial increase of € 8 billion per year until 2010, rising to € 16 billion for the following five years. Making available these large amounts will require not only an increase of the Official Development Aid grant money, but also the effective application of lending strategies by development financial institutions and mobilisation of private capital.In October 2005, the Commission’s Communication on the new EU Strategy for Africa identified limited access to transport, communication, water, sanitation and energy services as major constraints to economic growth. To improve that situation, the Commission proposed an EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure to improve inter-connectivity, to facilitate regional integration and to promote “South-South trade”. The selection of projects will be done in consideration with the priorities listed by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Members of European Parliament have backed calls for more pharmaceutical funding to be diverted to research on tropical diseases. During a public hearing on Wednesday in the European parliament, scientists and medical professionals told euro deputies that 35,000 people die every day from infectious diseases. And MEPs were informed that research and pharmaceutical production for diseases such as Leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and chagas disease are largely being ignored. Less than one per cent of the approximately 1400 new medicines developed over the last 25 years were created to combat tropical diseases.
Almost half of worldwide funding on drug development is financed by public funds, MEPs were told, yet around 90 per cent of pharmaceutical research funding is spent on diseases which account for only ten per cent of the lost health years of life worldwide.
“We must get ready for a new public-private partnership; politicians must have their say to make sure more funds are available to deal with the problem.”
Tido Von Schoen-Angerer, of Medecins Sans Frontiere, told MEPs that “neglected diseases do not represent a commercially viable market for multinationals.”
“That is why an overwhelming majority of those affected throughout the world do not have access to safe, affordable diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.”
And the experts urged the EU to include neglected diseases in the upcoming seventh Research Framework Programme.
“So far, the EU has launched initiatives focusing only on HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, the big three” said DNDi’s Els Torreele. The seventh framework programme is an opportunity for immediate action; its mechanisms should be more flexible to include neglected diseases.”
Rural populatiosn are the most affected by lack of health care.
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Friday, 10 February 2006
EU development commissioner Louis Michel and European Investment Bank (EIB) President Philippe Maystadt launch a trust fund to finance infrastructure in Africa.
The initiative has come under fire from the European parliament, with left-wing MEPs arguing the EIB is “currently ill-prepared to deliver on development”.
The new fund was agreed by Europe’s leaders last December with the aim of improving African transport networks, telecoms and energy and water provision.
In the start-up phase, over the next year, the European commission will seek to free-up €60m in grants and the EIB up to €260m in loans.
But left-wing MEPs and NGOs have given a negative assessment to “the environmental, social and development consequences of EIB operations in Africa, Latin America and Asia”.
German GUE/NGL MEP Gabi Zimmer argues that case studies show the EIB’s investment in large industrial projects “is not in line with the European consensus on development”.
“This indicates that EU member states, when extending the EIB's mandate to become the union's development bank, will have to equip the institution with the tools - procedures and expertise – to enable it to act as one. Vienna will not be able to close its eyes to our demand during its EU presidency term.”
The European Union says increased use of biofuels in developing countries could bring huge benefits, especially to those affected by the bloc's sugar reform.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), unveiled its new biofuels strategy Wednesday (Feb. 8) which outlines a series of measures to promote biofuels within the EU and developing countries.
The plans seek to boost the production of alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol through additional aid and investment, aimed at reducing Europe's heavy dependence on oil and natural gas.

The new strategy also examines new economic possibilities in several developing countries and sets out measures to encourage the developing world to become biofuel producers.
The Commission paper, which builds on a biomass action plan adopted last December, sets out three main aims - "to promote biofuels in both the EU and developing countries, to prepare for large-scale use of biofuels, and to support developing countries where biofuel production could stimulate sustainable economic growth."

Biofuels, which are made from biomass -- organic matter such as wood, crops and animal waste - can be used to power vehicles and are seen in the EU as a way to reduce emissions that are believed to cause global warming and therefore climate change.
The Commission says that in a number of developing countries, the production of biofuels could stimulate economic and environmental benefits, create employment, reduce energy import bills and open up potential export markets.
Presenting the strategy to media representatives, EU commissioner for development Louis Michel highlighted the potential opportunity that biofuels production presents for developing countries.

Michel said aid could be offered to poor farmers in developing countries producing biofuels, and that the option of growing crops for biofuel use would help alleviate the effect of recently approved EU sugar reforms which cut aid to sugarcane farmers, mostly in African and Caribbean countries.
"Many developing countries are naturally well placed for the production of biofuel feedstocks, particularly those traditionally strong in sugar production. The expanding EU market for biofuels will provide them with new export possibilities. The EU will help them maximise this opportunity with support for knowledge transfer and development of their market potential," Michel said.

The Commission says it will ensure that new measures for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) sugar protocol countries affected by the EU sugar reform can support "the development of bioethanol production, develop a coherent biofuels assistance package for developing countries, and examine how best to assist national and regional biofuel platforms."
The ACP group of countries cautiously welcomed the initiative Wednesday, but warned that they would need greater support for the strategy to benefit them.

"While there is indeed potential to develop biofuels in the ACP sugar producing countrie, and plans are already under way in certain countries, to make it a success will require considerable capital investment," a spokesperson for the ACP sugar group told IPS.
"At the moment, apart from the 40 million euro (48 million dollars) compensation agreed for 2006, the ACP has no guarantee of clear and secure financial assistance from the EU to help them diversify their industries after the reform of the EU sugar regime," he said. "That is why it is crucial that a secure and substantial fund is set aside for the ACP sugar protocol countries in the final agreement on EU Financial Perspectives 2007-2010."
The Commission announced radical plans to overhaul its sugar regime last June. The executive is planning to cut the guaranteed price of sugar by 39 percent over two years from 2007, and offer 60 percent compensation for producers forced out of business by the price cut.
Under current rules, the EU offers a guaranteed price for sugar that is paid for in effect by consumers. Brussels buys from ACP producers at about three times the average world market price.
ACP countries have a long tradition of supplying sugar to the EU under a trade agreement that has brought significant benefits to ACP economies.
The proposed reforms will hit the sugar sector in ACP countries hard. The loss of those privileges when the EU starts paying prices closer to market rates is expected to have a huge economic impact on many of the ACP countries. IPS
Thursday, 09 February 2006
Commission provides a further €5 million to help drought victims in the Horn of Africa
The European Commission has allocated further €5 million in an emergency humanitarian aid decision to strengthen the resilience of people living in areas of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia affected by severe drought. The objective is to help improve the situation of up to 5.6 million vulnerable people, providing them with water, food and healthcare and protecting their livestock herds.
Commissioner Louis Michel, responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: “Starvation threatens if we don’t act quickly. The €5 million announced today is part of a major ongoing effort by the Commission to help people affected by the severe drought. It will be used immediately to provide urgently-needed water, food and basic healthcare as well as to support the livestock that most people in the region rely upon.”
So far, the Commission has allocated €73 million for drought-related interventions in response to the current crisis. It has a two-pronged approach involving the provision of relief assistance under the humanitarian aid budget (€12 million to date) and of support aimed at tackling the effects of the drought in the medium and longer term (€61 million). The latter involves financing mainly from the food aid/food security budget line and from the European Development Fund (EDF).
Mr Michel stressed that “the plight of the Horn of Africa will continue to get our full attention. The ‘long rains’ are due in May but if they don’t come, we could be facing a terrible situation, for which we must be prepared. That is why we propose to earmark further funding of almost €40 million in the coming weeks and months, taking the total to €112.6 million. We recognise that more effort is needed in the face of such huge needs and I hope that other humanitarian actors will also boost their response.”
The additional funding planned includes €9.6 million for Kenya, €10 million for Ethiopia, €9 million for Somalia and €11 million for a regional humanitarian aid programme to boost drought preparedness. A substantial proportion of these new resources will be earmarked to support the efforts of the World Food programme in the stricken regions.