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IP/02/1627

Brussels, 7 November 2002

Commission signs EUR 101 million aid package with Southern Africa Development Community

The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr Poul Nielson, today signed the Regional Strategy Paper (RSP) for the Southern African Development Community (SADC(1) ) in Maputo, Mozambique where he is attending the EU-SADC Ministerial Meeting. This document provides a comprehensive framework for EU-Southern Africa co-operation for the next five years (2002-2007) and makes a €101 million initial contribution available for attaining joint objectives. These non-repayable funds have been allocated from the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) which is the financial instrument of EU-ACP Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou in June 2000. On the occasion of the signature with Dr P. Ramsamy, SADC's Executive Secretary, Mr Nielson stated, " I welcome this agreement. Not only does this new programme further cement the relations between SADC and the EU, it also heralds a new era of co-operation and dialogue between the two regions under the auspices of the Cotonou Agreement." The funds will be used in support of reinforced regional integration in Southern Africa including in the areas of economic integration and trade and transport and communication.

SADC and the EU have identified the following priority areas for EU support which address the major obstacles to economic development and poverty reduction:

  • Support in the field of Economic Integration and Trade (€35 to €45 million of the allocation) allows the countries in the region to continue to move towards a larger and more unified market. The fostering of the free trade area and the future creation of a customs union will increase the region's competitiveness and help to attract more investment into the productive sectors. Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) are given a high priority in the co-operation strategy as a means of assisting the region to more successfully integrate itself into the global trading system and at the same time strengthen its own regional integration process. The EPA negotiations were launched in Brussels on 27 September.

  • Programmes in Transport and Communication (€35 to €45 million) aim at reducing costs of transport and communication mainly through improved utilisation of existing infrastructure and services and through the continued development of a regional transport and communications policy and regulatory framework.

  • Up to €20 million of the allocation will be used to support programmes in other areas such as peace and security and further support to ongoing programmes, the fight against HIV/AIDS and drugs control in the region.

Special attention will be paid to involving non-state actors in the co-operation and issues such as peace and security, environment and gender will be mainstreamed in all programmes.

Because several members of SADC are also members of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), who share a separate RSP, close co-ordination took place between SADC and these organisations in the drafting of their respective strategies. Furthermore, an Inter Regional Co-ordinating Committee (IRCC) has been established to co-ordinate the implementation of related programmes in the two regions.

A full version of the documents can be found on the following websites:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/strat_papers/index_fr.htm

http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/index_en.htm

http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/cotonou/index_en.htm

(1)Thirteen of SADC's fourteen Member States Angola, Botswana, RD Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are covered by this programme. The fourteenth Member State (South Africa) has its own Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement with the European Union which co-finances joint programmes with SADC.


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