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#EmergencyTrustFundForAfrica - EU mobilizes almost €100 million to support most vulnerable in Horn of Africa

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The European Commission has announced a €97.2 million package of additional funding for programmes in the Horn of Africa. Under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), this package will support the creation of job opportunities, public finance management and access to education for vulnerable groups, in particular refugees and displaced persons.

Out of that total, €65m will be allocated in Sudan, almost €20m in Eritrea, €5m in South Sudan and €2.5m in Rwanda. International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said:“The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been key for addressing the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations in Africa, including women and youth. It has already supported nearly 190,000 beneficiaries in the Horn of Africa in developing income generating activities and improved access to basic services for close to 500,000 people. Furthermore, it has been key in supporting the civilian-led transition in Sudan, a historic opportunity that will benefit the country's population, and peace and stability in the region.”

An important objective is the economic empowerment of women and youth, to reduce the social inequalities they face and to enable better economic integration. Overall in the Horn of Africa, the EUTF has reoriented programmes worth about €153.1m to tackle the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. More information is available in the press release.

Africa

Team Europe: EU seals agreements to generate €10 billion in investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood and stimulate global recovery

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During the Finance in Common summit, the European Commission took a major step forward in boosting investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood, helping to stimulate global recovery from the pandemic, by concluding ten financial guarantee agreements worth €990 million with partner financial institutions that complete the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the financing arm of the External Investment Plan (EIP).

Together, these guarantees are expected to generate up to €10 billion in overall investment. International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said: “By signing these agreements today, the EU has concluded the implementation of the External Investment Plan's overall guarantee almost two months early. Now our partner financial institutions can make use of all of the Plan's individual guarantees to generate billions of euros in much-needed investment, in particular across Africa. These agreements will directly support people who face some of the biggest challenges because of COVID-19: small business owners, the self-employed, women entrepreneurs and businesses led by young people. They will also help to fund a major expansion of renewable energy generation, ensuring that the recovery from the pandemic is green, digital, just and resilient.”

Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: “The guarantee agreements that we sign today clearly show the effective partnership established between the European Commission and the International Financial Institutions in support of our partner countries. Investments have become even more necessary in light of the pandemic. With today's signature, the European Commission is securing more than €500m to support EU Neighbourhood countries. These guarantee agreements will stimulate their economic recovery and make them more resilient to future crises.”

Guarantees agreements include the earlier announced €400 million guarantee – that complements the additional €100 million EU grant announced today – for the COVAX Facility, to develop COVID-19 vaccines and ensure fair access once they are available. Other agreements for guarantees amounting to €370m will help small businesses stay afloat and continue to grow in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information see the full press release.

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EU Trust Fund for Africa mobilizes another €22.6 million to foster stability and security in the Sahel and Lake Chad region

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The European Union has announced another €22.6 million for five new programmes under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) to foster stability and security in the Sahel and Lake Chad region.

International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said: “These five programmes contribute in different ways to addressing the protracted crisis in the Sahel region and advance its long-term stability and prosperity. They target the terrorist threat, the perceived impunity of criminals, and help improve governance, but they will also offer greater creative and economic opportunities for young people in the region and improve access to the internet.”

A €10m programme approved under the EUTF will support the fight against impunity in Burkina Faso by making the justice system more accessible and efficient, for example by improving the functioning of the penal chain and by supporting priority projects in the justice system.

The EUTF will also support the creation of a multi-purpose squadron of the Niger National Guard to enhance the security of the population and to stabilise the region. This €4.5m programme, requested by the Home Affairs Ministry of Niger, will include capacity-building activities with a special focus on the protection of human rights, and the provision of material, including vehicles, communication equipment, bullet-proof vests, and a medically-equipped ambulance, to better confront the terrorist threat.

The third programme, worth a little over €2m, will contribute to the creation of Radio Jeunesse Sahel, a transnational platform to allow young people aged 15 to 35 to express themselves in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. The radio will offer innovative content on the various challenges faced by youth, and give them a space for engaging in discussion, promoting a sense of collectiveness.

The EU will support, with just over €1m, a technical assistance programme to strengthen the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Gambia. This is the first of phase of efforts to create universal internet access in Gambia by complementing existing internet infrastructure with 4G wireless technology and through accompanying social inclusion measures.

Finally, a €5m capacity-building pilot project will pave the way for the digitalization of the Guinean civil registry system and the electronic identification of citizens. The current lack of legally certified identity documents creates numerous challenges, including rendering migrants more vulnerable to human trafficking.

Background

The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was established in 2015 to address the root causes of instability, forced displacement and irregular migration and to contribute to better migration management. EU institutions, member states and other donors have so far allocated resources amounting to €5 billion to the EUTF.

More information

EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

 

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Investment, connectivity and co-operation: Why we need more EU-African co-operation in agriculture

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In recent months, the European Union has demonstrated its willingness to promote and support agricultural businesses in Africa, under European Commission’s Africa-EU Partnership. The Partnership, which stresses EU-African co-operation, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to promote sustainability and biodiversity and have championed promoting public-private relationships across the continent, writes African Green Resources Chairman Zuneid Yousuf.

Though these commitments apply to the entire continent, I would like to focus on how increased African-EU co-operation has helped Zambia, my country. Last month, European Union Ambassador to Zambia Jacek Jankowski announced ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund (EZCF), an EU-backed initiative that will award grants to agribusiness operators in Zambia. The plan is worth an overall total of €25.9 million and has already launched its first call for proposals. In a time where Zambia, my country, is battling serious economic challenges this is a much-needed opportunity for the African agribusiness industry. More recently, just last week, the EU and Zambia agreed to two financing agreements that hope to boost investments in the country under the Economic Government Support Programme and the Zambia Energy Efficiency Sustainable Transformation Programme.

Europe’s collaboration and commitment to promoting African agriculture is not new. Our European partners have long been invested in promoting and helping African agribusiness realise their full potential and empower the sector. In June of this year, the African and European Unions launched a joint agri-food platform, which aims to link African and European private sectors to promote sustainable and meaningful investment.

The platform was launched off the back of the ‘Africa-Europe alliance for sustainable investment and jobs’ which was part of European Commission President’s Jean Claude Junker’s 2018 state of the Union address, where he called for a new “Africa-Europe alliance” and demonstrated that Africa is at the heart of the Union’s external relations.

The Zambian, and arguably the African agricultural environment, is dominated largely by small-to-medium sized farms that need both financial and institutional support to navigate these challenges. In addition, there is a lack of connectivity and interconnectedness within the sector, preventing farmers to connect with each other and realise their full potential through cooperation.

What makes EZCF unique among European agribusiness initiatives in Africa, however, is its specific focus on Zambia and empowering Zambian farmers. Over the past few years, the Zambian farming industry has grappled with droughts, lack of reliable infrastructure and unemployment. In fact, throughout 2019, it is estimated that a severe drought in Zambia led to 2.3 million people requiring emergency food assistance.

Therefore, a solely Zambia-focused initiative, backed by the European Union and aligned with promoting increased connectedness and investment in agriculture, not only reinforces Europe’s strong connection with Zambia, but will also bring some much-needed support and opportunity for the sector. This will undoubtedly allow our local farmers to unlock and leverage a wide range of financial resources.

More importantly, the EZCF is not operating alone. Alongside international initiatives, Zambia is already home to several impressive and important agribusiness companies that are working to empower and provide farmers with access to funding and capital markets.

One of these is African Green Resources (AGR) a world-class agribusiness company of which I am proud to be the chairman. At AGR, the focus is to promote value addition at every level of the farming value chain, as well as look for sustainable strategies for farmers to maximise their yields. For example, in March this year, AGR teamed up with several commercial farmers and multilateral agencies to develop a private sector financed irrigation scheme and dam and off grid solar supply which will support over 2,400 horticultural farmers, and expand grain production and new fruit plantations in the Mkushi farming block in Central Zambia. Over the next few years, our focus will be to continue promoting sustainability and the implementation of similar initiatives, and we are ready to invest alongside other agribusiness companies that seek to expand, modernise or diversify their operations.

Though it appears that the agricultural sector in Zambia may be facing challenges in the years to come, there are some very important milestones and reasons for optimism and opportunity. Increased cooperation with the European Union and European partners is an important way of capitalizing on opportunity and ensuring that we are all doing as much as we can to help small and medium sized farmers across the country.

Promoting increased interconnectedness within the private sector will help ensure that small farmers, the backbone of our national agricultural industry, are supported and empowered to collaborate, and share their resources with larger markets. I believe that both European and local agribusiness companies are heading in the right direction by looking into ways of promoting agribusiness, and I hope that together, we can all sustainably promote these goals on the regional and international stage.

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