Brussels, 10 February 2014
EU confirms new support to Mauritania during high level visit
EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, is today expected to announce €195 million for Mauritania in the areas of food security, rule of law and healthcare for the years 2014-2020.
The Commissioner will meet President Abdel Aziz and Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdhaf during his visit, and discussions are expected to focus in particular on ongoing cooperation between the EU and Mauritania in the areas of security, development and fishing. The Commissioner is also expected to underline the EU’s ongoing commitment to supporting the country on its path to growth and in the key role it has to play in security in the Sahel.
The visit - the first one from a Commissioner to Mauritania since 2008 - is extremely timely; coming just a few months ahead of the EU-Africa summit which takes place in Brussels on 2-3 April. As current holders of the African Union presidency, Mauritania will have a particularly central role to play in the summit.
Speaking during the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "The country will have a particularly important part to play in the forthcoming EU-AU summit and it can continue to count on the EU as a committed partner in this".
"Mauritania also has a vital role in helping to keep the Sahel region stable due to its location. There can be no development without security, and I would like to congratulate the country on all the work it is doing to make the country, and the wider region, more stable".
During the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs will participate in the launch of a project to rehabilitate and enlarge the Nouakchott-Rosso road, almost 200 km long and a key transport corridor between Mauritania and Senegal. The EU has provided €51 million, adding up to funds form the Mauritanian Government and the World Bank – a concrete example of what can be achieved through partnership in the region.
Thanks to this improved transport link, Mauritania will be able to a key role in trade in the region (including helping to improve access to markets for farmers), thanks to its position on the crossroads between the Maghreb and Sub Saharan Africa. The road also marks a step forward towards the eventual finalisation of the Tanger-Lagos transport corridor, which will help to significantly boost regional integration and trade across the region.
During this visit, the Commissioner will also take the opportunity to see for himself how key EU projects are making a difference on the ground. For instance, a school for girls in the village of Toujounine, and a police training school; a concrete example of the link between security and development in the country (which is at the heart of the EU’s strategy in the Sahel).
The new funding announced today comes from the European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020. Between 2007 and 2013, the EU committed €209 million to Mauritania. This included an additional €25 million for the Sahel strategy (European Union strategy to promote security and development in the Sahel), €11 million on the Millennium Development Initiative and €8 million as part of the Vulnerability Flex (or V-FLEX), set up to help countries to respond to the effects of the economic crisis.
Concrete results of the EU’s support in Mauritania include a significant improvement in the safety and quality of roads throughout the country, improved access to energy in both rural and semi-rural areas (for example 190,000 people in six wilayas, or provinces, provided with electricity), and five regions given access to drinking water and a sanitation system.
The Commissioner recently announced €6.4 billion for the region of West Africa (subject to confirmation by Member States) between 2014-2020, which is expected to support investments that generate growth and job creation for the 300 million citizens of West Africa. The region of West Africa includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania.
For more information
IP/13/1002: EU confirms its support for West Africa's development and integration
IP/14/124: Commissioner Piebalgs visits three West-African countries to discuss future development cooperation
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs: