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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

EU confirms its support for development and stability in Central Africa

EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs announced yesterday close to €3 billion in grants for countries and organisations in the region of Central Africa for the period 2014-2020. The announcement was made during a two-day event to discuss development cooperation with Ministers and other authorities of the involved countries and regional organisations. The new funding, still subject to confirmation by the EU Member States, will aim to benefit the 162 million citizens living in a region that has suffered from a number of armed conflicts as well as chronic poverty and malnutrition. Future programmes are expected to support investments that generate growth, improve access to basic social services (e.g. health, energy), reduce food insecurity and promote peace and stability.
Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "There are many challenges ahead in the region of Central Africa: poverty and malnutrition, lack of access to energy, proper infrastructures or strong public institutions, are all putting a break in the countries' development and their population wellbeing. The EU is firmly committed to working with partner countries to tackle those challenges".
He added: "In doing so, it is important that Central African countries make full use of its developing potential without endangering its natural environment, endowed with a wealth of natural resources and a remarkable biodiversity".
The new funds will address key priorities being discussed with the countries present in the programming seminar, which finishes on January 23 in Brussels, as well as with the representatives of the two regional organisations CEEAC (Economic Community of Central African States) and CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community).
Future cooperation will consider innovative forms of implementation, as set out in the Agenda for Change, the EU's blueprint to make development aid more efficient and more result-targeted. In particular, this will include the blending of funds (i.e. the mixing of EU grant money with loans from other sources of funding).
The region of Central Africa includes ten countries (Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé & Principe, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Rwanda and Burundi). The combined population is 162 million, almost half of which live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country which also covers most of region's territory.

Source: European Commission