European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda (14 – 19 September). This will be the Commissioner’s first visit to these three African countries. During the visit, the Commissioner is expected to outline the EU’s new €1.8 billion Emergency Trust Fund, set up to address the root causes of migration, promote work opportunities in Africa (especially for young people and women in local communities) and counter radicalisation and extremism.
The main objective of the Commissioner’s visit is to discuss the EU’s cooperation with these countries, as well as to look at the challenges with regard to economic growth, migration and the recovery from shocks and disasters. The visit is particularly timely as it comes just before the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York (24-28 September) where the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), following up to the Millennium Development Goals, will be formally adopted by the International Community.
Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Mimica said: “This is my first visit to these three countries and my message will be clear: Africa is on the move, with people and the economy enjoying unprecedented opportunities for growth. I can confirm that the EU, a long term partner to the region, is committed to doing all it can to continue to help boost trade and support to these East African countries on their path to growth. After all, it is clear that there can be no development without growth and jobs.“
Background information on the visit
Commissioner Mimica will visit Rwanda between 14 and 16 September to reinforce the already strong EU-Rwanda partnership on development. He will inaugurate the new Kigali-Gatuna road, to which the EU contributed €57 million. This road infrastructure project is extremely important for a landlocked country like Rwanda to facilitate road transport and communication networks. He will also visit another EU-supported project, related to agriculture and located in Byumba, where he will meet farmers and view their terraces, built in order to address the issues on the slopes caused by scarcity of land, high population pressure and the negative effects of climate changes.
During his visit in Rwanda, Commissioner Mimica will hold a bilateral meeting with President Kagame to discuss EU cooperation with Rwanda. He will also meet other senior ministers and representatives of civil society.
Last year, the EU announced a contribution of €460 million for 2014-2020 for Rwanda through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), mainly in the areas of sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and food security, and good governance. This is underpinned by support to civil society, as well as capacity building of relevant ministries and public institutions.
Between 16 and 18 September, Commissioner Mimica will visit Kenya, where he will meet President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta to discuss the EU’s partnership with Kenya and how to maximise Kenya’s opportunities for growth. They are also expected to address issues related to migration and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will be replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He will also meet women leaders and representatives of Civil Society to look at women’s development in the country and how the EU can continue to support it.
The EU has allocated €435 million to Kenya through the 11th EDF for 2014-2020. These funds will used to address challenges related to food security, resilience to climate shocks in arid and semi-arid areas, sustainable infrastructure, support to the accountability of public institutions, and to help in governance decentralization, increase access to transport, energy, water and sanitation throughout the country and other social issues.
Commissioner Mimica will take time to visit projects during his visit, namely the Sasini Coffee Plantation and factory which now has two new climate smart coffee varieties (Ruiru 11 and Batian) able to withstand broad variation of weather and produce a high yield. This renovation was possible thanks to EU cooperation and research efforts.
Finally, Commissioner Mimica will also be in Uganda on 19 September. He will hold a bilateral meeting with President Museveni to discuss economic growth, the challenge of youth unemployment and governance, amongst other issues. He will also meet Members of Parliament and civil society and private sector representatives. Finally, he will visit an innovative youth centre in Bwaise (a densely populated slum in Kampala), which aims to empower up to 800 young Ugandans with vocational, leadership, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills every year.
Through the 11th EDF, the EU is providing €578 million for Uganda over the period 2014-2020 in three main areas: transport infrastructure, food security and agriculture and good governance.
For more information
Website of Commissioner Neven Mimica: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/mimica_en
New EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: