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Brussels, 25 March 2011
Background: European Commissioners Andris Piebalgs and Michel Barnier advocate green growth and economic integration in Africa
1. The European Commission already carries out numerous programmes to support green growth in Africa. Some key examples can be found below:
The EU-FLEGT Action Plan is a successful example of EU-African cooperation in this area. Illegal logging currently leads to $10-15 million in lost revenue, much of it in Africa. Through FLEGT, voluntary trade deals were set up between the EU and timber-producing countries to stop illegal logging and help producers trade more in legal timber. These voluntary agreements have already worked well in Ghana, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.
The ACP-EU Energy Facility was set up to help increase the use of local renewable energy sources and avoid the significant costs that come with large scale electricity distribution infrastructure, thereby boosting the competitiveness of renewable generated electricity and creating jobs and growth. The EU is uniquely placed to provide support in this field – it houses some of the major renewable technology companies, and has the greatest experience in the legal and administrative measures necessary to promote investment in renewable energy.
Thanks to the Second Energy Facility (2009-2013), (which has a budget of 200m euros) 65 innovative and environmental projects have received funding. The Second Energy Facility follows the successful implementation of the First Energy Facility, launched in 2005 under the 9th European Development Fund with a total budget of €220 million. Almost seven million people have already benefited from the 74 projects co-financed by the First Energy Facility.
The EU has called for enhanced support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the promotion of more disclosure of financial information for the extractive sector, including the possible adoption of a country-by-country reporting requirement. We also support related international capacity-building initiatives – such as the World Bank's EITI Trust Fund.
Water has a tremendous potential as driver for economic growth through energy generation, the agricultural sector and food production, but remains an unexploited resource. Moreover, in many of the world’s poorest countries, there is often a strong correlation between rainfall variability and GDP performance. Boosting the use of water is therefore an efficient way to both increase growth and reduce poverty.
The Commission supports regional water management through:
2. The European Commission is cooperating with the African Union Commission to share experience on economic integration and building an Internal Market.
Following his last visit to Addis Ababa in July 2010 and discussions with AUC Chairman Mr Jean Ping and several other AU Commissioners, Commissioner Barnier asked his department, DG Internal Market and Services, to cooperate with other Commission departments and with the AUC to organise an Internal Market workshop in Addis Ababa. The purpose was to launch in-depth talks with the AUC to identify areas in the Internal Market area for future cooperation.
The workshop took place from 28 February to 1 March 2011. Among the areas discussed were: general overview of the internal market, state of play of regional integration in Africa, technical standardisation in the EU, financial services regulation in the EU, fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, transparency and country-by-country reporting, competition policy, public procurement and enforcement of intellectual property rights.