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Brussels, 12 September

Commissioner Piebalgs's visit to South Africa: examples of EU development cooperation

Development cooperation between the EU and South Africa mainly takes place in two areas, namely employment creation and capacity development for service delivery and social cohesion.

The value, however, of development cooperation in South Africa does not come only from the financing, but also from the "value added" approach, which focuses on innovation, creativity, piloting, and risk taking. The aim of this approach is to create a basis for the replication of successful projects and programmes using government resources.

During the visit, the Commissioner will visit key projects to see how EU- South African cooperation works on the ground.

Afrika Biopharma Manufacturing - The Risk Capital Facility programme

On 14 September Commissioner Piebalgs and EIB Director General Tamsyn Barton will visit Afrika Biopharma Manufacturing (, a black-owned and managed business whose primary interest is pursuing investment opportunities in the health care industry. Its Alrode Factory specializes in the primary and secondary packing of pharmaceutical products. In June 2004, the company benefited of an allocation of €0.7 million from the Risk Capital Facility programme to co-finance a loan from a South African financial institution of €1.5 million. 38 jobs have been created and about 40 more are expected by the end of 2011.

The Risk Capital Facility ( ) is a €100 million Commission-funded programme which aims at providing high-risk equity and quasi-equity funding to Small and Medium Enterprises owned and operated by historically disadvantaged persons i.e., persons disadvantaged under the previous apartheid regime. It is co-managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) of South Africa (a self-financing national development finance institution). The RCF represents an excellent example of successful cooperation between the EU and the government and institutions of South Africa.

The RCF is a key EU intervention for creating jobs, through the provision of financial assistance complemented with business support services. It focuses on seven result areas, including:

  • Improved access to development funding by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) ;

  • Increased numbers of new jobs created for historically-disadvantaged persons,in particular women, targeting 13,000 jobs by 2012 (at least 30% of these jobs should be for women);

  • Increased empowerment of historically-disadvantaged persons through shareholding and possibilities for them to hold managerial positions

Some of the achievements so far:

Since 2001, 110 investments of a total of €67 million have been approved and an estimated 9400 jobs have been created. As of mid-2011, the second part of the RCF (2007-2012) has funded 44 SMEs, as well as investment funds which in turn invest in SMEs.

Youth Empowerment Project

On 14 September, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Mahlasedi Masana Primary school in the Mamelodi township, where the Youth Development through Football programme (YDF) is active.

YDF fosters youth development through local communities, where sport assistants have been trained as YDF Coaches. Sports assistants are contract workers between 18 and 25 years of age who were often previously unemployed. At Mahlasedi Masana Primary School, for example, a street soccer pitch matching international standards was built by the German Development Agency, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and co-funded by the German government and the European Union. As well as being used by the Mamelodi School League, it is also used for events hosted by members of the community.

The European Commission and the South African government signed the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) in 2009. The programme is jointly funded by the European Commission (€10 million) and the German Government (€7.5 million to its sports component).

The general objective of the programme is to promote the inclusion of young people in the social and economic development of South Africa and other African countries, by helping them to to improve their life skills and enable them to be better equipped to get a job as a result. Local authorities and community groups will engage with disadvantaged young people through arts, culture and sports activities, include them in organising community life and open the way for young people to make a positive contribution to local development. The programme is built around two components:

  • Sport and Football is a contribution to the regional Youth Development through Football (YDF) ( programme, which has so far been a partnership between the South African and German Government and is implemented by GIZ.

  • Arts and Culture is implemented through a call for proposals, launched by the EU Delegation in consultation with the Department for Arts and Culture (DAC).

Overall, through the YDF programme more than 50,000 girls and boys between 12 and 25 years will be supported in South Africa. At least 40% of the beneficiaries will be girls. By the end 2011 50% of sports coordinators and NGOs staff trained will be implementing the YDF training manuals.

Primary Health Care Sector Policy Support Programme

On 14 September, Commissioner Piebalgs will co-launch the Primary Health Care Sector Policy Support Programme, with Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Minister of Health

The overall objective of the Primary Health Care Sector Policy Support Programme is to contribute to improving the health profile of all South Africans, in line with the government’s vision of “a long and healthy life for all South Africans". The programme purpose is "to improve access to public health services and to increase quality of service delivery of primary health care through the district health system", in line with the National Health Strategic Plan and its key focus areas:

  • Increasing life expectancy

  • Decreasing maternal and child mortality

  • Combating HIV and AIDS and decreasing the burden of diseases from tuberculosis

  • Strengthening the effectiveness of health systems

Of the total amount of EU support (€126 million), €110 million will be provided in the form of direct sector budget support to the South African Department of Health. The remaining €16 million will be used for technical cooperation and to support civil society organisations.

Primary Education Sector Policy Support Programme

On 16 September Commissioner Piebalgs will, jointly with President Barroso, visit the Funda UJabule School in Soweto, which serves as a training school for university students of the Foundation Phase. European Union funding is being used to support this pre-service teacher training programme, as well as learners at the Funda UJabule School, over a period of four years.

This €122.68 million sector budget support programme aims to strengthen the South African government's efforts to improve learner performance in literacy and numeracy at primary school level by

a) expanding access to quality early childhood development opportunities,

b) enhancing curriculum implementation, and

c) attracting and training higher numbers of capable teachers for the Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3), particularly teachers who are able to teach in the African languages

A first tangible result of the programme is that in addition to the 13universities that are already offering Foundation Phase teacher training programmes, seven more are now preparing to do so, starting in 2012-2013.

Innovation for Poverty Alleviation (

This €30 million EU-funded programme aims to pilot activities in the field of science and technology that will address the challenges of employment creation and poverty alleviation.

Key results recorded for this programme after two years of implementation include the creation of 730 jobs and support to 1,760 research and vocational trainees. Furthermore, the programme provided seed funding that is needed to pilot new technologies mainly in poor areas. The creation of 22 new small and micro businesses in rural areas in the fields of traditional medicines, essential oils, and aquaculture farming is an example of this. Another key initiative that was fast-tracked with the help of the programme is the development and installation of Wireless Mesh Network technologies in rural schools and colleges. Network equipments to access the internet were installed in more than 150 schools.

Erasmus Mundus Partnerships

The overall objectives of this programme are to contribute to the provision of appropriate high-level human resources for sustainable development and growth in South Africa, and to improve political, economic and cultural links between South Africa and the EU. €5 million was committed in 2009. This has made it possible for the first cohort of beneficiaries, comprising 79 master and 44 doctoral students, as well as 39 academics, to study, teach or carry outresearch at 19 European universities in 11 countries during the 2011/12 academic year. An additional €3 million was committed in 2010, which will benefit students and academics during the 2012/13 academic year. Further financial commitments are planned for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

See Erasmus Mundus website

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