The European Union today has announced €200 million of new long term support to promote poverty reduction and socio-economic development in Eritrea through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Until 2020, under the National Indicative Programme (NIP), the European Union will support two main areas – energy and governance. The programme has the full agreement of the EU’s 28 Member States.
Announcing the new programme on behalf of the European Union, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said:
“The EU provides development aid where it is most needed to reduce poverty and support people.
In Eritrea, we have agreed to promote activities with concrete results for the population, such as the creation of job opportunities and the improvement of living conditions. At the same time, we are insisting on the full respect of human rights as part of our ongoing political dialogue with Eritrea.
As in other countries, the EU engages with governments around the world to promote human rights, democracy, and people-centred development everywhere.”
Support to the energy sector
In a country with one of the lowest access rates to electricity, supporting the energy sector is crucial for the Eritrean people as it will allow better access to social services, including schools, hospitals and health centres. The support will also facilitate irrigated agriculture and the development of the country’s considerable fishing potential. A more efficient energy network will have a broad positive effect on the social and economic development of Eritrea.
Support to governance
The EU’s support for governance is designed with two goals: to strengthen Eritrean capacity to better manage public finances, and to help Eritrea implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (the United Nations mechanism examining human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States). With regards to economic governance, support will be given to the production of reliable statistics, and to help build a conducive environment for the private sector.
The National Indicative Programmes represent an important step in the programming of EU development aid. In 2013, EU Member States agreed on the overall amount for development cooperation that will be channelled to 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countrie through the 11th EDF during the financing period 2014-2020. The total amount is €30.5 billion.
On Eritrea’s National Indicative Programme, the European Union and the Government of the State of Eritrea agreed to converge efforts on the most critical issues for the local socio-economic development in the years up to 2020 – notably energy efficiency and sustainability, and improved governance.
The 11th EDF was created by an intergovernmental agreement signed in June 2013 – as it is not part of the EU Budget – and entered into force on the 1st March 2015, after ratification by all Member States. In order to ensure continuity of funding for cooperation with ACPs and OCTs, a ‘Bridging Facility’ was set-up to cover the period between the end of the 10th EDF (December 2013) and the start of the 11th EDF (March 2015). This ‘Bridging Facility’ seized to exist when the 11th EDF entered into force.