Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Thursday, 26 April 2018

The European Parliament backed by a large majority the EU budget for 2018 on Wednesday (25 October), earning praise from NGOs for increasing funds for humanitarian and development aid. But the EU Council said it cannot accept all the MEPS’ amendments. MEPs set the overall EU budget for 2018 at €162.6 billion (+1.2% on the Commission’s draft budget) for commitments and €146.7 billion (+0.9%) for payments. In comparison, the Commission proposed setting the total level of commitments at €160.6 billion and payments at €145.4 billion. But member states on 12 July decided to cut the Commission’s proposals by €1.2 billion.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Speaking to the press after the first round of talks at the EU summit on Thursday (19 October), Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that EU action was “reaching its limits” due to insufficient financing. “We are reaching our limits when it comes to this Emergency Trust Fund for Africa,” Juncker said. “We started by saying that we would take €1.8bn in our hands in order to be helpful to Africa, then we increased this to €2.5, then to €2.9, then to €3.1bn, money the Commission was providing by restructuring the existing budget. Member states have so far committed €175m, this is clearly not enough,” he stated.

Africa and Europe have long-standing relations, based in particular on a series of agreements between the European Union (EU) and the group of 79 ACP countries (Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean, Pacific). The Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000 for 20 years, kept the structure of its predecessors, from a time when Europe was negotiating with its former African colonies. It rests on three pillars: development cooperation, trade relations and political dialogue. It is urgent to realise that the context of cooperation has changed radically and that our partnership with Africa is out of date. Even more importantly, we need to wake up to what Africans expect from us.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Moving ahead with the EIP's rapid implementation, the first Strategic Board of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) met in Brussels on 28 September, on the same day that the entry into force of the regulation establishing the European Fund for Sustainable Development. The European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) is the heart piece of the EU's new External Investment Plan (EIP). Its role is to help boosting private and public investment in our partner countries to address some of the obstacles to growth and some root reasons for irregular migration.

The German Ambassador to Haiti, Manfred Auster, who took up his post around 12 months ago, on Thursday outlined the achievements of cooperation between Germany and Haiti since 2010. In that period, Germany has invested €115 million – or $135 million – in various projects in Haiti. Standing alongside representatives of German and Haitian organisations, the Ambassador underlined the financial and moral support given to the world’s first independent black republic. Ambassador Manfred Auster repeatedly underlined the strength of diplomatic ties between Haiti and Germany over the past ten years. Europe’s strongest economy has invested €115 million or $135 million in various projects in Haiti.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Young people from Africa and Europe, including representatives of the African Diaspora, are gathering in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 9-11 October to take part in the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit. While at the Summit, the delegates will engage in lively debate, with a view to developing recommendations and solutions to put forward to Heads of State at the 5th AU-EU Summit, also to be held in Abidjan, on 29-30 November. A total of 120 motivated young people from Africa and Europe, selected from over 7500 applicants, will discuss issues of importance to youth on both continents.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Department for International Development has defended its aid budget for Nigeria, which is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis caused by attacks led by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and Priti Patel, the development secretary, jointly announced £200m in aid over the next four years, during a visit to the country on Wednesday. The projected average annual funding of £50m in that time period falls short of the £100m pledged to Nigeria for 2017. But DfID played down the suggestion that the new pledge amounted to a halving of the annual budget, claiming the additional funding was part of a £300m five-year package.

Friday, 06 October 2017

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders informs that Belgium sends B-FAST with relief supplies and a water purification unit to Dominica. This island in the Caribbean was heavily damaged by hurricane Maria. Belgium’s intervention comes in answer to a request for assistance from Dominica. A team of 15 persons will bring the goods to the island. They will remain there about a week. They will install the water purification unit and hand it over to a local manager. The team will also deliver medical kits from the World Health Organisation. This action takes place within the international aid structures, those of the United Nations as well as those of the European Union.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The State Minister at the Ministry of International Cooperation, Dr. Somia A'akad, met Tuesday, at her office the head of the European Union Mission in the Sudan, Ambassador Jean-Michel Dumond and discussed with him aspects of the joint cooperation between the Sudan and the EU, especially in the economic and developmental fields and means for enhancing them further. The state minister has provided the EU head of mission with a comprehensive review to the state's efforts, represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation in tightening cooperation with the donors for the preparation of the pivotal document to coordinate the aid being negotiated.

Africa is receiving a declining share of the global official development assistance, advocacy and campaign organisation ONE says. It called on the G20 to double official development finance by 2020, from approximately $60bn in 2015 to $120bn. Despite a 7.4% increase in global ODA in the last year, African countries’ share has fallen by 4% since 2012, according to a ONE report published on 11 September. Over half of the world’s poorest people live in Africa and the share of global aid going to the region dropped to 32% in 2016, compared to 36% in 2012. At the same time, Africa’s population has increased by 14%. ONE also called on donors to recommit to ODA targets and work towards spending 0.7% of their national income on development aid overseas, prioritising “the poorest and most vulnerable countries”.