At this occasion, Commissioner Mimica stressed: "Niger is facing numerous challenges and has already demonstrated on many occasions a strong political willingness and leadership to confront those challenges. The European Union will support the country with around 1 billion euros for the period of 2017-2020. Our focus will be on ensuring the delivery of basic social services, while continue addressing the pressing security challenges. One cannot come at the expense of the other. "
This EU assistance was jointly defined with the Nigerien Government and will help to implement Niger's 2017-2021 Economic and Social Development Plan. EU support will further contribute to strengthening State capacities and the delivery of social services. It will help to boost job creation and economic growth as well as increase food security and resilience and fight against climate change. A particular focus will be put on gender equality, girl's empowerment and education. EU support will also sustain good governance efforts, the reform of the country's security and justice systems, as well as the fight against irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling.
As part of the €1 billion envelope, Commissioner Mimica and the Nigerien Minister of finance, M. Massoudou Hassoumi have signed a first financing agreement of €40 million to increase the EU's support in the sector of nutrition, food security and resilience. They also signed an agreement amounting to €64 million to build hybrid power plants in Agadez and in Gorou Banda. The action is co-financing from the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement), with EU grants worth €21 million.
Niger faces major challenges in terms of development, where the population is in dire need of provision of basic services, job creation, rural development and access to energy. EU support to Niger under the National Indicative Programme (11th European Development Fund) amounts to €596 million for 2014-2020. It focuses on four sectors: (1) Food security, nutrition and resilience, (2) Reinforcing State capacities to implement social policies, (3) Security, Governance & peace consolidation and (4) Road access to areas affected by insecurity and conflict risks.
Niger benefits from the full range of European instruments to support its role in maintaining stability in the region, to address the economic, budgetary and humanitarian challenges and to support the country in implementing its national development plan for the benefit of the people of Niger. Niger is the first beneficiary of the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which aims to address the root causes of instability, irregular migration and forced displacement.
The EU also supports the country in facing instability and insecurity, such as a surge of armed terrorist groups, increased transnational organised crime activities, as well as armed banditry, irregular migration and trafficking. To help tackle this, the EU is supporting Nigerien authorities through our civillian Common Security and Defence Policy Mission EUCAP Sahel Niger with advice and training, in order to strengthen their capacities in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. The EU also committed to support the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad) with €50 million to improve security and cross border cooperation in the region.
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