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EU confirms new support for Mauritania during high-level visit

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Fish-Market-in-Nouadhibou-Harbour,-Mauritania,-West-Africa.-Credit-Marco-Care_Marine-PhotobankDevelopment Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is today (10 February) expected to announce €195 million for Mauritania in the areas of food security, rule of law and health care for the years 2014-2020.

The commissioner will meet President Abdel Aziz and Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdhaf during his visit, and discussions are expected to focus in particular on ongoing co-operation between the EU and Mauritania in the areas of security, development and fishing. The Commissioner is also expected to underline the EU’s ongoing commitment to supporting the country on its path to growth and in the key role it has to play in security in the Sahel.

The visit - the first one from a Commissioner to Mauritania since 2008 - is extremely timely; coming just a few months ahead of the EU-Africa summit which takes place in Brussels on 2-3 April. As current holders of the African Union presidency, Mauritania will have a particularly central role to play in the summit.

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Speaking during the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The country will have a particularly important part to play in the forthcoming EU-AU summit and it can continue to count on the EU as a committed partner in this."

"Mauritania also has a vital role in helping to keep the Sahel region stable due to its location. There can be no development without security, and I would like to congratulate the country on all the work it is doing to make the country, and the wider region, more stable."

During the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs will participate in the launch of a project to rehabilitate and enlarge the Nouakchott-Rosso road, almost 200 km long and a key transport corridor between Mauritania and Senegal. The EU has provided €51 million, adding up to funds form the Mauritanian government and the World Bank – a concrete example of what can be achieved through partnership in the region.

Thanks to this improved transport link, Mauritania will be able to a key role in trade in the region (including helping to improve access to markets for farmers), thanks to its position on the crossroads between the Maghreb and Sub Saharan Africa. The road also marks a step forward towards the eventual finalisation of the Tanger-Lagos transport corridor, which will help to significantly boost regional integration and trade across the region.

During this visit, the Commissioner will also take the opportunity to see for himself how key EU projects are making a difference on the ground. For instance, a school for girls in the village of Toujounine, and a police training school; a concrete example of the link between security and development in the country (which is at the heart of the EU’s strategy in the Sahel).

Background

The new funding announced today comes from the European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020. Between 2007 and 2013, the EU committed €209m to Mauritania. This included an additional €25m for the Sahel strategy (European Union strategy to promote security and development in the Sahel), €11m on the Millennium Development Initiative and €8m as part of the Vulnerability Flex (or V-FLEX), set up to help countries to respond to the effects of the economic crisis.

Concrete results of the EU’s support in Mauritania include a significant improvement in the safety and quality of roads throughout the country, improved access to energy in both rural and semi-rural areas (for example 190,000 people in six wilayas, or provinces, provided with electricity), and five regions given access to drinking water and a sanitation system.

The Commissioner recently announced €6.4 billion for the region of West Africa (subject to confirmation by member states) between 2014-2020, which is expected to support investments that generate growth and job creation for the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The region of West Africa includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania.

More information

IP/13/1002: EU confirms its support for West Africa's development and integration
IP/14/124: Commissioner Piebalgs visits three West-African countries to discuss future development cooperation
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG
Website of Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs

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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