EU unveils funding, aid proposals for African countries

Djibouti’s terrain. Desalination of seawater is the “only viable” way to help the country tackle water scarcity prompted by a prolonged drought, the European Commission has noted. Photo by: ECHO/ CC BY-SA

The European Union is providing €40 million ($52.9 million) to help address Djibouti’s water shortage in a green and sustainable manner.

The money, which will be disbursed in a series of loans and grants, will be used for the Producing Safe Drinking Water With Renewable Energy project. Alternatively called PEPER, this initiative includes the construction of a water desalination plant that will run on renewable energy.

Desalination of seawater is the “only viable” way to help the country tackle water scarcity prompted by a prolonged drought, the European Commission has noted. And to help ensure the plant is sustainable, the European Union also plans to construct a wind farm during the second phase of the project.

“Access to water is a human right and it’s unacceptable that insufficient water supply can be a source of conflict, as Djibouti recently experienced,” European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said when he announced the funding. “With this new project, we are not only increasing access to water for the people but we also help to bring security and stability for all Djiboutians.”

Support for Maghreb countries

Meanwhile, the European Commission and the office of the High Representative of the European Union have released joint proposals on how the regional bloc can help Maghreb countries become more integrated.

The proposals encompass military, development and diplomatic assistance the bloc can offer to help remove trade, cultural and infrastructure-related barriers in the region, which covers Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Western Sahara. They cover areas such as democratic reforms, under which the commission and high representative propose to support efforts to modernize the justice sectors of the involved countries and build capacity at the local levels.

Other sectors covered by the proposals include inclusive economic development, trade, infrastructure, energy, environment and climate change.

These proposals, which were outlined in a joint communication released Dec. 19, will be discussed with EU member states and other EU institutions, along with officials from Maghreb countries, over the next few months.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.