The European Business Council for Africa

Thousands of Zambian smallholders to benefit from EUR 30 Million (635m ZK) agriculture investment initiative launched by Zanaco and Team Europe

First targeted European Investment Bank support for sustainable agriculture investment in Zambia
Initiative to increase access to finance, support job creation and enhance agricultural productivity
Impact strengthened by agriculture and financial best-practice technical assistance
Dedicated focus to increase access to finance by female smallholders
Smallholder farmers and rural cooperatives across Zambia will benefit from a new EUR 30 million initiative to accelerate agricultural investment launched in Lusaka and Luxembourg today. The new initiative will improve agricultural productivity, upgrade agricultural processing, and support a sector severely impacted by COVID-19 challenges and is supported by a best-practice assistance program.

In preparation for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is scheduled to start on 1 November, the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) met in an OACPS High-level Dialogue with Partners on 15 September 2021 to discuss common priorities for the Conference.

The African Development Bank has welcomed $150 million investment in its Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF approved the amount at its 30th Board meeting this week.

Desert-to-Power is a flagship renewable energy and economic development initiative led by the African Development Bank. Its objective is to light up and power the Sahel region by building an electricity generation capacity of 10 gigawatts through photovoltaic solar systems via public, private, grid and off-grid projects by 2030

The objective of the umbrella Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility is to assist the G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – to adopt a low emission power generation path by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. It will mobilize $966 million over a seven-year implementation period. The initiative is expected to lead to substantial CO2 emission reductions – projected at over 14.4 million tCO2equ.

The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors has approved a loan of $86.72 million to co-finance the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

The multi-phase project will provide water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and generate hydroelectricity for Lesotho. The project entails harnessing the waters of the Senqu/Orange River in the Lesotho highlands by constructing a series of dams for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Delivered by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, on the case of Paul Rusesabagina

Thank you Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

The European Union has been closely following the human rights situation in Rwanda. We address human rights issues on a regular basis in our dialogue with Rwanda, in particular in the political dialogue under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement.

The European Union will continue to engage with the Rwandese authorities on the promotion of governance, civil society and human rights. We will continue to advocate for the full implementation of all human rights obligations as well as of the Universal Periodic Report recommendations.

The Council today decided to temporarily suspend the application of certain provisions in the visa code to nationals of The Gambia. This decision was taken due to the country’s lack of cooperation on readmission of third-country nationals illegally staying in the EU.

The following provisions have been temporarily suspended for nationals of The Gambia:

- possibility of waiving requirements with regard to the documents to be submitted by visa applicants

- limitation of the processing period to 15 calendar days and, as a consequence, restriction of the extension of this period to 45 days

- issuing of multiple entry visas

- optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports

President Julius Maada Bio signed today the law abolishing the death penalty in Sierra Leone.

This important achievement would not have been possible without the commitment of the Parliament and the Government. It enhances the respect for human dignity in the country and reflects the growing trend in Africa and around the world to confine capital punishment to the history books.

African economies fell $290bn short of the financing required to respond to the health and economic needs due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, according to the World Bank’s latest regional outlook.

This follows a similar warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year that the continent, unable to mobilize the kind of stimulus seen elsewhere, is facing a $345bn financing shortfall through 2023.

These pandemic induced numbers have compounded an already severe pre-covid funding gap for Africa’s various development needs.

This includes up to $108bn annually for infrastructure, as much as $331bn for small and medium sized enterprises ($65bn in the agriculture space alone), and up to $238bn for climate change adaptation between 2020 and 2030.

The EU and its member states strongly condemn the decision taken by the Government of Ethiopia on 30 September 2021 to expel seven United Nations (UN) officials from the country. The EU stands in full solidarity by the UN, and in particular OCHA, OHCHR and UNICEF directly targeted by the decision, and expresses strong support for their operations in Ethiopia, which are conducted on a neutral and impartial basis.

This decision risks further undermining the possibility to bring relief to millions of Ethiopians in a dire humanitarian situation. This comes at a moment when aid organisations are facing continuous day-to-day impediments to bring aid to people in need in Tigray and other parts of northern Ethiopia. The spill-over beyond Tigray has increased the need of protection and assistance.

The EU and its member states strongly condemn the decision taken by the Government of Ethiopia on 30 September 2021 to expel seven United Nations (UN) officials from the country. The EU stands in full solidarity by the UN, and in particular OCHA, OHCHR and UNICEF directly targeted by the decision, and expresses strong support for their operations in Ethiopia, which are conducted on a neutral and impartial basis.

This decision risks further undermining the possibility to bring relief to millions of Ethiopians in a dire humanitarian situation. This comes at a moment when aid organisations are facing continuous day-to-day impediments to bring aid to people in need in Tigray and other parts of northern Ethiopia. The spill-over beyond Tigray has increased the need of protection and assistance.