The European Union has committed to resume development assistance to the West African countries of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, pending reforms that both countries need to undertake toward democratic governance.
The EU partially suspended development aid to both countries following separate political events that were considered to breach the Cotonou Agreement.
Negotiations on resuming European aid to the Republic of Guinea are at a more advanced stage, with the Council of the European Union deciding to ease the conditions for resuming aid to the country. The decision came as a result of the country’s presidential elections in June 2010, which signaled what EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton described as a “return to constitutional order and democratization” since the military coup in December 2008.
The country’s parliamentary elections this year will complete the country’s transition to democracy, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said in a July 18 press release. It is also the milestone that will prompt the release of EU funds for social services, governance and transport.
Already, the EU has reportedly mobilized around €40 million ($56 million) of additional emergency funds for the country.
Meanwhile, the council set out a road map following consultations with Guinea-Bissau, which outlines the stages and conditions for the gradual resumption of the EU’s development assistance to the country.
The EU partially suspended development assistance to Guinea-Bissau following a military coup in April 2010. This included around €110 million from the European Development Fund for strengthening democracy and providing basic services.
As per the road map, Guinea-Bissau must implement certain reforms to fight impunity and organized crime if it were to receive the funds.
Around €23.2 million has been allotted for the resumption of projects and programs on conflict prevention, water and energy, including the Bissau Electrification Project as well as the Sustainable Management of Road Transport Project and Private Sector Support. The country is also eligible for EDF’s Millennium Development Goal initiative.