The European Union yesterday, approved €1.15 billion in aid for West Africa through to 2020, nearly doubling its previous financial commitment to a region that is a major source of migrants seeking to enter Europe.
While announcing the aid, Commisioner Mimica said:
“Regional integration in West Africa is already bearing impressive fruits and today’s signing is the ambitious starting point for preparing new, concrete projects that will benefit the region and its countries. Having almost doubled our support from the last programming period, we will work with a wide range of partners to tackle the challenges that remain in West Africa, such as peace and security, economic integration and trade, as well as sustainable development.”.
The EU statement did not give a detailed allocation of the funding, it said part of the funds earmarked for security would go towards migration.
The Programme focuses on three areas of cooperation:
Peace, security and regional Stability, including support to ECOWAS in its regional peace and security mandate and funding for peace and security initiatives, including migration.
Regional economic integration and trade, to strengthen trade, the private sector and regional integration and support infrastructure
Sustainable Development of natural resources and biodiversity, which covers support to resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change.
The West Africa Regional Indicative Programme was co-signed by President Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and President Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).