European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, has co-signed new regional funding for cooperation with representatives of regional organisations from West Africa up to the year 2020.
The Regional Indicative Programme under the 11th European Development Fund amounts to a total of €1.15 billion, an EU release has said.
Commissioner Mimica commented: “Regional integration in West Africa is already bearing impressive fruits and today’s signing is the ambitious starting point for preparing new, concrete projects that will benefit the region and its countries. Having almost doubled our support from the last programming period, we will work with a wide range of partners to tackle the challenges that remain in West Africa, such as peace and security, economic integration and trade, as well as sustainable development.”
The West Africa Regional Indicative Programme was co-signed by President Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and President Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The Programme focuses on three areas of cooperation:
Peace, security and regional Stability including support to ECOWAS in its regional peace and security mandate and funding for peace and security initiatives, including migration.
It also focuses on regional economic integration and trade, to strengthen trade, the private sector and regional integration and support infrastructure.
Sustainable Development of natural resources and biodiversity which cover support to resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change are the other areas of cooperation.
The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for EU aid for development cooperation with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries (ACP). It is funded with contributions from the EU Member States. Regional Indicative Programmes represent an important step in the programming of EU aid under the EDF, complementing the National Indicative Programmes concluded with national governments of ACP states.
Preparations are done in close cooperation with the regional organisations so as to ensure that the programmes support their priorities where the EU has a value added.
16 Countries benefit from the EU-West Africa Regional Indicative programme. They include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana and Guinea. The others are Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (2008-2013) for West Africa had a budget of €595 million.