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#EU opening a new chapter of relations with The Gambia

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BARROWNeven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, is in The Gambia today meeting the newly elected President Adama Barrow and his new Government.

Commissioner Mimica made the following statement: "The peaceful democratic change in The Gambia is the result of the determination of the Gambian people, as well as the regional and international coordinated efforts of the Economic Community of West African States. Gambians have shown commendable resolve, patience and courage during a period of high tension. The EU is fully committed to engage with President Barrow and his Government. We want to be a privileged partner of The New Gambia. In addition to the €75 million package of immediate support signed today, we are already preparing a medium term package of €150 million, which will focus on building the capacities of the State and on job creation.

This visit is a clear signal of the EU's readiness to provide immediate financial and technical support to the democratic process in The Gambia and its dividends for the population in terms of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The EU will also step up its support to sustainable and inclusive development of the country in close consultation with the new authorities. The EU is committed to support progress regarding democracy, human rights, good governance and sustainable and inclusive development.

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The package of measures, amounting to €75 million, was signed by Commissioner Mimica today. It comprises a project of €10.5 million to reinforce access of the most vulnerable populations, including female-headed households, to markets and socio-economic facilities. This will be done through a feeder road rehabilitation programme. Further, a project of €20.5 million will aim to create growth and employment opportunities, in particular for youth, as well as better access to food. A project of €11.5 will seek to improve food security, e.g. through supporting the provision of food, cash, treatment of acute malnutrition as well as prevention of all forms of undernutrition. Under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, The Gambia will benefit from a contribution of €11 million aimed at increasing job opportunities for youth. Finally, interventions amounting to €21.5 million in the areas of climate change, food security, support to civil society organisations, democracy and human rights, among others are also part of this first package.

Commissioner Mimica has also announced today the preparation of a second package of €150 million, which will be made available for medium and longer-term actions in favour of the Gambian population. An EU technical mission is visiting Banjul to identify and discuss areas of mutual interest.

Background

The EU-Gambia partnership has helped deliver important development goals for The Gambia, including for example the paving of nearly 50% of the Gambian road network through projects funded by the European Development Fund. Relations have also flourished in other areas such as trade, fisheries and tourism.

The European Union's total allocation for the Gambia under the  11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020 was set at EUR 150 million. It was decided to start with an initial envelope (EUR 33 million for 2015-2016) to support the development priorities of The Gambia, as defined in the "Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment" (PAGE 2012-2016). The main sectors of the first phase are Agriculture for economic growth and food security/nutrition and Exit strategy to the transport sector. With the new government in place, the key priorities of the EU in terms of development cooperation include rapidly supporting stability and reconstruction of the Gambian State.

The Gambia also stands to benefit from the regional agenda of ECOWAS, whose priorities are focussed on five areas of intervention, notably, peace and security, infrastructure development, agriculture and resilience, common market and regional competiveness and capacity building.
The Gambia also benefitted from the Environment budget line. A Global Climate Change Action project is being implemented in the area of integrated coastal zone management and climate change. Interventions in the areas of food security, agriculture and rural development, job creation, in particular for youth and women, as well as actions to support civil society organisations, democracy and human rights, are currently ongoing.

The Gambia is eligible for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. Since the Valletta Summit, two new actions have been adopted in favour of Gambia for a total of EUR 14.9 million aiming, among others, to offering economic opportunities and jobs to reinforce the capacity of youth.

More information

On the EU Delegation in The Gambia: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/gambia_en

On the EU Trust Fund for Africa: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/regions/africa/eu-emergency-trust-fund-africa_en

Libya

A Documentary about Libya: Another Bogus Story?

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The British state broadcaster and news agency BBC sent an inquiry to the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin (pictured) with announcement of its intention to make a documentary about the fate of Libyan citizens. The description of the project states that the film will feature serious human rights violations which were allegedly documented during the fighting in the Tripoli`s vicinity.

The BBC editors wanted to find out from Prigozhin what role Russians play in the life of the North African country. Representatives of the British state media noted that they would probably refer to Prigozhin`s comment in their research.

The press service of the Concord Catering company, headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, published the entrepreneur`s response.

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He reminded foreign journalists that the US authorities plunged the North African republic into civil war when they killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and filled the country with extremists and terrorists. The latter are even integrated into the power structures of Libya. Moscow, unlike Washington, helps residents of other countries, according to the businessman.

Prigozhin also suggested that BBC staff should ask for comments from the Russian Anti-Repression Foundation if this media wants to learn more about human rights violations by Washington and its allies.

“I have not heard anything about the violation of human rights in Libya by the Russians and I am sure that this is an absolute lie. But if you want a detailed list of such violations by the United States and its allies around the world, then I recommend that you contact the Anti-Repression Foundation for more detailed comments. Or Maksim Shugaley who was thrown into the Mitiga prison in Libya without trial or investigation, where he survived deprivation and torture and who knows more than anyone else about the violation of human rights in this country. My advice to you is to operate with facts, not your Russophobic sentiments,” the businessman told the BBC journalists.

According to the press office of the Concord Catering, the company has repeatedly published explanations on a number of submitted issues. In particular, they reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin has nothing to do with those Russian citizens who were allegedly participating in hostilities on the territory of Libya. Among the unfounded accusations, there is also an allegation that the Russian businessman is connected to the Euro-Polis LLC, which, according to rumors, is a company supplying military equipment to Libya. The press office denies all allegations related to connection of Prigozhin with the Libyan conflict stating that catering and the supply of arms are unrelated businesses.

The press service of Concord Catering also mentioned that the BBC is not the first media which sends the same type of questions. Many other international media holdings have been engaged in the replication of rumors.

It is noteworthy that earlier the British Independent Press Standards Organization upheld a complaint by Prigozhin`s against the Daily Telegraph for spreading false information about the situation in Libya.

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Africa

EU and Republic of Kenya launch strategic dialogue and engage towards implementing the East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement

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The European Commission has welcomed the launch of the Strategic Dialogue between the European Union and the Republic of Kenya, and the strengthening of multilateral partnership between EU and the East African Community (EAC) region. In the context of the visit of president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis met Adan Mohamed, cabinet secretary for East African Community and regional development. Both sides agreed to engage towards implementing bilaterally the trade and the economic and development cooperation provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the East African Community.

Executive Vice President Dombrovskis (pictured) said: “I welcome Kenya's efforts and leadership in the region. It is one of EU's most important trade partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Chair of the East Africa Community. The recent decision of the EAC Summit allows EAC members to implement the regional EPA bilaterally with the EU, based on a principle of ‘variable geometry'. The EU will now engage with Kenya - which has already signed and ratified the regional EPA - on the modalities towards its implementation. The EPA is an important trade and development tool and its implementation with Kenya would be a building block towards regional economic integration. We encourage other members of the East African Community to sign and ratify the EPA.”

International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, who exchanged with Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo added: “I welcome the new impetus to the EU-Kenya bilateral relationship with agreement on the launch of the strategic dialogue together with a renewed engagement with the East African Community. This will create a dialogue focusing on common policy aims and real benefits for all involved. We will immediately begin work on a roadmap to implement the strategic dialogue. We are committed to accompany the country's ambitious green transition, job creation and digitalisation efforts. In addition, investing in People, in education or health, will be paramount to build resilience and help tackle COVID-19 challenges and we are working intensively on Team Europe initiatives to support small and medium enterprises and pharmaceutical industries in Africa to complement the efforts at country level.”

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More information is available in the press release.

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Africa

Africa and Europe discuss investment to dismantle false choice between conservation and development at European Development Days 2021

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) convened a discussion on African Landscapes for People and Wildlife: Dismantling the false choice between conservation and development on Wednesday 16 June 2021 at 15h10 CET as part of the European Development Days 2021.

The discussion explored how the services that ecological systems provide underpin human existence, political stability, and economic prosperity, particularly in Africa. And how investing in Africa as if conservation and development are competing objectives will lead to the continued loss of species and habitat degradation. In terms of solutions, the session focused on the role Africa leaders play in shaping a more sustainable path by investing in wildlife economies that incentivise conservation and restoration while providing for people and the importance of mobilizing into conservation and ensuring funding gets to where it is needed but also how the green deal will reshape how Europe invests in African landscapes. The discussion made a clear case for smarter, greener investments in Africa’s landscapes.

Speaking after the session, Frederick Kumah, Vice President External Affairs at AWF said: “I am glad that the session explored the role African leaders need to play in shaping a more sustainable path by investing in wildlife economies that incentivize conservation and restoration while providing for people.”

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Ecotrust Pauline Executive Director Natongo Kalunda, panellist at the discussion, explained: “There is not enough effort in global consumption to understand that nature is an asset and that investments must be made to protect it and support growth….Sustainability relies on these landscapes and if investors do not understand that, then it will be impossible to reach sustainability targets.”

This timely debate featured panel speakers from the two continents Simon Malete, Lead of the African Group of Negotiators to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, Executive Director of Ecotrust and Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Member of the European Parliament. The session was moderated by Simangele Msweli, Senior Manager of the AWF’s Youth Leadership Program.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

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