Regional trade gets $253 million boost from EU

Tuesday February 12 2019

Trade

Roses for export to the European market. The European Union has granted over $253 million to boost their regional trade and job creation programs in Africa. PHOTO | FILE 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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The European Union has granted over $253 million to boost their regional trade and job creation programs in Africa.

The beneficiaries are 25 countries, including all East African Community states as well as COMESA, IGAD, SADC and IOC member states.

"The additional investments will support economic integration and job creation, as well as strengthen the nexus between development and security," Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said in  statement on Monday.

"Recent developments in the region have generated a need for stronger support in these areas to overcome the growing challenges such as population growth, adverse climate change effects, weak governance and the destabilising effects of international crime."

Mr Mimica signed the pact during his trip to Ethiopia where he met the African Union Commission Chairperson, Musa Faki Mahamat, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Job creation in Eastern and Southern Africa will take the largest chunk of the EU fund with $141 million, while urban coastal development and maritime security in the Red Sea area will consume the remainder.

The financial envelope is part of EU's $1.7 billion pledge to regional integration in African between 2014 amd 2020.

The European powerhouse also donated $4.5 million for the establishment of the African Union Trade Observatory, a pillar of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will be mandated to provide updated trade on cross border trade between states on the continent.

The data centre will be jointly set up by the African Union, the EU and the International Trade Centre (ITC) and will seek to address the lack of reliable statistics for policymakers and investors in Africa.

The EU recently allocated $56 million to the AfCFTA for the period 2018-2020.

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