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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 January 2014

EU confirms its support for development, integration and promotion of peace and stability in Central Africa

EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs will today announce close to €3 billion in grants for countries and organisations in the region of Central Africa1 for the period 2014-2020. The announcement will be made during a more than two-day event to discuss development cooperation with Ministers and other authorities of the involved countries and regional organisations.

The new funding, still subject to confirmation by the EU Member States, will aim to benefit the 162 million citizens living in a region that has suffered from a number of armed conflicts as well as chronic poverty and malnutrition. Future programmes are expected to support investments that generate growth, improve access to basic social services (e.g. health, energy), reduce food insecurity and promote peace and stability.

Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "There are many challenges ahead in the region of Central Africa: poverty and malnutrition, lack of access to energy, proper infrastructures or strong public institutions, are all putting a break in the countries' development and their population wellbeing. The EU is firmly committed to working with partner countries to tackle those challenges".

He added: "In doing so, it is important that Central African countries make full use of its developing potential without endangering its natural environment, endowed with a wealth of natural resources and a remarkable biodiversity".

The new funds will address key priorities being discussed with the countries present in the programming seminar, which finishes on January 23 in Brussels, as well as with the representatives of the two regional organisations CEEAC (Economic Community of Central African States) and CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community).

Future cooperation will consider innovative forms of implementation, as set out in the Agenda for Change, the EU's blueprint to make development aid more efficient and more result-targeted. In particular, this will include the blending of funds (i.e. the mixing of EU grant money with loans from other sources of funding).

Background

The region of Central Africa1 includes ten countries (Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé & Principe, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Rwanda and Burundi). The combined population is 162 million, almost half of which live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country which also covers most of region's territory.

Some results of EU funding and programmes in Central Africa

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an EU-funded programme to help the country attain the Millennium Development Goals was recently launched. It focuses on decreasing mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission, preventing gender-based violence, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Almost one million women and children below the age of five will benefit from cheaper health services and better quality treatment in the provinces of North Kivu, Oriental Province, Kasaï-Occidental and Kasaï-Oriental, as a result of this programme. Over a period of three years, the programme will cover 70% of the medical costs for the women and under-aged children who benefit from the programme, and 100% for the poorest among these beneficiaries.

250 health centres will receive additional essential medicines and better equipment to treat patients. Food complements (such as high-energy and protein products) in order to recover from malnutrition, specific services for victims of sexual violence, access to contraception and medicines that avoid mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, will be made available in these health centres. There will also be new storage equipment for vaccines. 

Infrastructure reconstruction and increasing the safety of the Virunga National Park, together with a training programme for rangers and park managers, have facilitated the resumption of touristic activity in the eastern part of the DRC.  Tourism in the Virunga Park has produced already more than $1million in revenues, and has created job opportunities and boosted economic activity. 30% of the income generated by the park's activities is allocated to community development programmes, benefiting adjacent local communities.

In the Republic of Congo ("Congo Brazzaville") an EU project contributes to improving the functioning of the port of Brazzaville and to increasing its handling capacity. This is important for the stimulation of regional commercial flows and for the promotion of Congolese industries (e.g. forestry, fisheries).

In Cameroon the EU has funded the construction and rehabilitation of 200 kilometres of roads, completing some important transport corridors from Douala with Chad and the Central African Republic respectively, which should give a boost to economic integration with these two land-locked countries.

EU-funded projects in Burundi have made it possible in various regions to considerably increase agricultural productivity (beef, fruits, palm oil) by providing amongst others 600,000 fruit crops and 3,500 cattle. Land erosion has been tackled by replanting 6,000 hectares of land.

For more information

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail


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