- LIVE TV
The European Union has stepped up its bid to woo African states in the week that the continent’s top leaders have gathered in Washington to chart new political and commercial partnerships with world’s largest economy.
The EU Wednesday launched the first phase of its ambitious Sh97.7 billion programme aimed at improving key growth sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and information technology in Africa. It will run from 2014-2017.
Under the programme, Europe will spend Sh48 billion (415 million euros) on projects in the initial phase of the initiative known as the “Pan-African Programme”, which was first announced in April during the fourth EU-Africa summit in Brussels.
The entire programme is set to run until 2020 at a total cost of 845 million euros (Sh97.7 billion).
“The challenges with which we are faced can no longer be tackled within national borders. This is as true in Europe as it is in Africa or elsewhere. This is why I have proposed to create a Pan-African programme to find solutions at regional and continental scale and support the process of African integration, where the African Union plays a critical role.
“The alliance between Africa and Europe is indispensable, today more than ever. This programme will make it even stronger,” European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said in a statement Wednesday.
The announcement came as President Barack Obama’s African Leadership forum entered its second day, with the superpower announcing investments worth more than $14 billion in Africa’s security, renewable energy and transport infrastructure.
Multilateral lenders like the World Bank and US multinationals like Citi Group have also announced plans to pump billions of shillings worth of investments into Africa.
Like the Americans, the EU programme seeks to increase mobility on the African continent, boost trade relations and address global challenges such as security, migration and climate change.
The first phase will include projects on sustainable agriculture, environment, higher education, governance, infrastructure, migration, information and communication technology, as well as research and innovation.
“The major innovation of this programme is that it allows the EU to link up the cooperation it has with Northern Africa, South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It will also help us to achieve better policy coherence,” said EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
– Business Daily