Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Friday, 19 January 2018
New offices for the European Investment Bank Regional Representation for West and Africa and the Sahel region were officially inaugurated by the President of Senegal, His Excellency Mr. Abdoulaye Wade together with the President of the EIB, Mr. Philippe Maystadt. The new representation office, the second to be opened by the EIB in Africa South of the Sahara, is to play a key role in the EIB’s commitment to build closer ties with its customers and expand operations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) within the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, and the Investment Facility, a funding instrument created by the Agreement and managed by the EIB since its official launch in June 2003.

The Dakar-based regional representation pole is intended to enhance EIB activities in particular towards the private sector, and to reinforce its visibility with the ACP countries of West Africa. As EIB President Philippe Maystadt said: “The new Representation Office underscores the EIB’s commitment as the European Union’s development financing institution to supporting economic development in Africa under the Cotonou Agreement. Senegal, and in particular its President, being our host, underlines its commitment for the same goal. Both the Bank and the ACP countries realise that implementation of the Cotonou Agreement’s challenging mandate requires a permanent presence in Africa”.

The EIB representations in Dakar will bring both added value in operational terms and flexibility for European Development Finance in the whole region . Local investors will have a point of contact for advice on European Investment Bank financing of projects.
Within the private sector, EIB Dakar will also work with the network of local antennae of the “CDE”, Center for the Development of Enterprise in the region and with “Pro€invest”, both set up as independently managed private sector support instruments under the Cotonou Agreement and its predecessor treaties, the Lomé Conventions.

The EIB Dakar regional representation will further help to improve co-ordination with the European Commission’s grant aid in support of the road infrastructure and water and sewerage sectors, as well as improvements in the governance, regulatory and judicial systems through the national indicative programmes (NIP) in the region. In addition it will strengthen synergies with the EIB’s partners in the European development financing institutions group, the EDFI, and with the World Bank group and other peer institutions.

EIB lending under first full year of the Investment Facility (2004), a risk taking, risk pricing, revolving facility for the ACP private or commercially run public sector, reached sixteen operations for a total of EUR 337 million. In Senegal a loan for EUR 10 million was approved for the Dakar - Ziguinchor maritime link – the relevant finance contract will be signed with the Ministry of Finance on the 1st July.

Two other regional representation offices will be officially opened in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005 with the office for East and Central Africa being officially inaugurated on 30 May in Nairobi. A subsequent regional representation for the Southern Africa region and Indian Ocean will be inaugurated in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa.
From 1st July to 31st December 2005, the UK will have the Presidency of the Council.
The UK is taking over the EU presidency at a time of political upheaval. With the high-profile clash over the EU budget still smouldering PM Tony Blair will have a hard time posing as the 'honest broker'.
The rotating EU presidency is a chance for each member state to take the lead in bringing the EU forward. Much is already decided in the shape of a rolling EU agenda. But the presidency can also bring some of its own priorities onto the agenda.

UK PM Tony Blair has recently clashed with his many of his EU colleagues over the EU's long term budget at the 16-17 June 2005 summit, but his speech in the European Parliament on 23 June won over many hearts and he displayed his considerable speaking talents in a defiant speech that did not just blindly seek to build consensus.
However, the speech made it obvious that Blair has an economic reform agenda that he intends to defend and promote. While this does indeed smell like the much longed for leadership, it may not win the UK friends in all corners of the EU, especially not France and Germany who took positions against Blair in the failed budget talks. UK will take on the uphill battle of trying to achieve a budget deal during the presidency.

The UK presidency has a long list of priorities, the hardest nut to crack will be to get a deal done over the EU's financial perspectives for 2007-2013. While the UK may have support from a number of reformist minded countries in Scandinavia and among the EU-10, who would like to see a shift towards more spending on science and innovation, France has made it clear that it will not accept a renegotiation of the 2002 budget deal on the CAP that has frozen agricultural expenditure until 2013.
Better regulation is part of the rolling EU agenda and it will get a further boost from the UK wanting to promote competitiveness and cutting red tape.
The working time directive has already seen the UK's opt out of a maximum 48 hour working week challenged by continental EU, and the issue may resurface.
Friday, 01 July 2005
This External Trade on line forum offers you the opportunity to give your opinion on this appellation of origin and geographical indications issue. It gives you the floor to ask questions and provide comments to External Trade experts or to the other contributors to the forum. Geographical Indications may be the future of many of us. Welcome on board.
Until 15th July 2005
Thursday, 30 June 2005
Africa and the challenges of globalisation
Oral questions by Luisa MORGANTINI (GUE/NGL, IT) to the Council and Commission on the Global Call to Action Against Poverty: Making Poverty History
Debate : 06.07.2005
Jack STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and Hilary BENN, Secretary of State for International Development, will represent the Council in a debate with MEPs on World Action Against Poverty. The Council and Commission will make statements on Africa and the challenge of globalisation.
Luisa MORGANTINI (GUE/NGL, IT), Chair of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, will be asking the Commission the following question:
The campaign Global Call to Action Against Poverty was launched by President Lula of Brazil at the opening of the World Social Forum in January 2005. Nelson Mandela launched the campaign in the UK in February 2005. The campaign objectives can be summarised in three points: increase in the quantity and quality of aid; debt cancellation; fair trade.
The campaign has been rightly launched during a year that will be a crucial one for the fight against poverty in the world: the annual G8 Summit in July (Scotland), with Africa as one of its priority items on the agenda; the UN High Level Plenary Meeting in September (New York), with a major review of the UN Millennium Declaration's implementation and of MDGs progress; the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2005, a potentially decisive step in getting the Doha Development Round back on track. These three major international meetings illustrate the importance of 2005 for the fight against poverty.
Following the three communications presented by the Commission in April (the ‘MDGs package’), and in the light of the 16-17 June European Council conclusions, where Member States committed themselves to an intermediate ODA target for 2010 (0.51% of GNI for ‘old’ Member States and 0.17% of GNI for ‘new’ Member States), how will the EU Presidency ensure the monitoring and follow-up of these commitments? What concrete steps will the Presidency take in order to implement the Council Conclusions of November 2004 concerning harmonisation of rules and procedures and to implement the proposals made by the Commission to increase coordination and complementarity?
The debate on untying aid is well advanced as far as EU assistance managed by the EC is concerned. But what about ODA managed by national development agencies? What concrete steps will the Presidency take to ensure that the untying of aid as a principle is adopted by all EU Member States? What position on debt relief will the EU Presidency, now also chairing the G8, defend? What steps will the Presidency take concerning the International Financial Facility and other innovative sources of financing for development? Will the Presidency encourage the Commission to translate the proposed focus on Africa into concrete ODA percentages and targets?
The Chair of the Development Council will also be asking the Commission the following question:
What is the preliminary assessment of the Commission concerning the response by EU Member States on the MDGs package?
The Commission intends to improve policy coherence by reinforcing the impact assessment mechanism (developed in 2000). What does this imply exactly? Will the Commission follow the Swedish example, where every initiative adopted by the Government includes a development impact assessment? Will the Commission implement the suggestion of proposing the introduction of a development box in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture? Will the Commission translate the proposed focus on Africa into concrete percentages and targets?
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Report on the impact of the lending activities of the European Community in developing countries
Debate : 06.07.2005
The Development Committee of the European Parliament is calling for greater synchronisation of aid activities in the European Union in a draft report by Gabriele ZIMMER (GUE/NGL, DE) which will now be debated by the full Parliament. Through stronger cooperation between the development activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and those of the Commission and Member states, MEPs in the committee hope to achieve important objectives of harmonising and increasing the efficiency of development policy measures. Although the EIB has made progress in following development policies of the European Union, the committee still believes that the EIB instruments lack flexibility and contain problems with project evaluation.
In general, the committee finds that there is a lack of dialogue between the European institutions and the EIB, and calls for greater cooperation not only with the Commission and the Parliament, but also other development agencies. MEPs in the committee also call for the EIB to coordinate its "objectives, criteria and methodology also with the European Development Finance Institutions" as well as to cooperate within the Interact Network in order to guarantee that EIB funding is complementing the measures taken by the Commission and by the Member States.
MEPs in the committee want to see a greater coherence between European aid programmes, integrating European development policies, such as the Millennium Development Goals set in September 2000 and the Cotonou agreement, under the EIB's policies.
In the assessment and evaluation area, MEPs in the committee want the EIB to adopt the key indicators defined by the Commission and to integrate them into its Development Assessment Framework and also to "align its 'Development Impact Assessment Framework of Investment Facility Projects' to international standards of development assessment." This in order to better evaluate the success of its projects.
MEPs in the committee also call for more instruments aimed at stimulating SME investments and encouraging entrepreneurship, especially among women. Efforts to integrate environmental objectives are also mentioned in the report, encouraging the EIB to lend money to projects focusing on protecting natural environments, assessing hydro-power projects and promoting projects for renewable energy.
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