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Brussels, 19 November 2002

Commission signs EUR 223 million aid package with the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region

The European Commission signed today in Kampala, Uganda, the regional strategy document with the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region. This involves a €223 million programme for the period 2002 2007. The overall aim of the co-operation strategy is to reduce poverty and to increase economic growth through higher levels of regional economic integration and enhanced co-operation in selected areas between the countries of the region. Regional co-operation and economic integration have been particularly emphasised as important development strategies in the new Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the ACP countries, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000. The regional strategy document was signed by Mr Koos Richelle, Director General for Development.

This regional strategy document covers a combined membership of four regional organisations: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). The countries involved are: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The ACP-region of Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean is extremely heterogeneous and diverse in all aspects. Nevertheless, in a number of areas, the regional approach to development co-operation has clear advantages over the national one. On this basis, the region and the EU have identified the following priority areas for EU support, which address the major constraints to economic development and poverty reduction:

  • Support in the field of Economic Integration and Trade allows the countries of the region to continue to move towards a larger and more unified market. The fostering of the free trade area and future creation of a customs union will increase the region's competitiveness and help attract more investment into the productive sectors. Economic partnership agreements 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 strengthening the regional integration process.

  • Programmes in Natural Resource Management aim to improve the sustainable development of the region through the more efficient and sustainable management of the region's natural resource base.

  • Programmes in Transport and Communications aim at reducing costs of transport and communications mainly through improved utilisation of existing infrastructure and services and through the development of a regional masterplan which will address the most immediate requirements in this sector.

Other areas of co-operation include programmes in conflict prevention, resolution and management, capacity building, higher education and culture.

Special attention is paid to involve non-state actors in development co-operation and issues such as environment, capacity building and gender will be mainstreamed in all programmes.

This is the third of six regional strategies to be signed, after the Pacific Region and the Southern Africa Development Community.

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

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