In line with the growing trend for donors realigning their development programs to help recipient countries graduate from aid dependency, Ireland has unveiled a new cooperation strategy for Africa that focuses on building the region’s local capacity and supporting the development of its trade sector.
The strategy outlines proposals for the direction of Ireland’s development, business and political relations with African countries. Eamon Gilmore T.D., the country’s deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and trade noted during the document’s launch that Ireland’s long-term goal is to “end dependency on aid and to build a new relationship with Africa based on politics, democracy and trade.”
To achieve this, the strategy says Ireland should continue helping African countries build their capacity to respond to local challenges while also expanding Irish Aid’s role in efforts to help countries mobilize more domestic resources and improve local business environments.
The strategy also calls for a review of existing Irish Aid-funded trade initiatives and proposes the integration of more trade support activities in the agency’s country programs in Africa.
The document does emphasize that Ireland should continue supporting its thematic priorities in Africa, namely climate change, hunger, good governance, gender equality, and support for the campaign against HIV and AIDS.
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