Africa to Receive Three Trillion Shillings From EU

The European Union will offer Africa Sh3 trillion over six years to fund key projects, the bloc announced on Thursday at the end of the fourth EU-Africa summit.

European Commission President Jose Barroso (left) and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy (right) welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta in Brussels on April 3, 2014. PHOTO | GEORGES GOBET

European Commission President Jose Barroso (left) and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy (right) welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta in Brussels on April 3, 2014. PHOTO | GEORGES GOBET AFP

According to a joint communique issued after the meeting of 40 African leaders and 20 European counterparts, more money would be available through bilateral financing arrangements.

The 28 billion Euros will go towards peacekeeping operations, investment and development projects between 2014 and 2016 although details have yet to be worked out.

The size of the fund was eagerly awaited after China announced a $20 billion credit facility for Africa in July 2013, spread out over three years during its last summit.

It was double the $10 billion that China had offered in 2009-2012 and will mostly be invested in infrastructure projects in Africa.

European and African leaders meeting for two days in Brussels also committed to grow human capital through education and training and to find ways of creating jobs for the youth.

They also promised to work together for peace and security. Consequently, the EU announced it would continue its military mission to the Central African Republic.

“We are committed to promote peace and prosperity,” President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said.

Mr Rompuy noted that the relationship between the two continents is changing.

“Our partnership of equals has come of age,” he said.

Tension

The summit comes on the heels of tension between African leaders and their European counterparts over the prosecution of sitting African leaders at the International Criminal Court including President Kenyatta Kenya, his deputy William Ruto, as well as Sudan’s Omar el Bashir.

The final communique did not make specific mention of the matter but reiterated the need to fight impunity, while leaving the door open to dialogue.

“We undertake to enhance political dialogue on international criminal justice, including the issue of universal jurisdiction, in the agreed fora between the two parties,” the communique noted.

The summit also failed to make a firm decision on Africa’s demand for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, only noting the need for further reform of UN bodies.

Speaking during the closure of the summit, African Union (AU) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Africa’s progress in democracy, governance and human rights needs to be consolidated.

“Africa has 60 per cent arable land still available for agriculture. Europe on the other hand has experience in adding value to agricultural products, so we can take advantage of this,” she said. The summit took place in the background of boycotts by South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

– Daily Nation