3. Trade, regional integration and infrastructure

EU This partnership focuses on regional integration as a factor for peace, stability and economic growth. Trade and trans-national infrastructure are inseparably linked to this strategy, helping to build larger and more efficient competitive markets and creating a pro-business environment that attracts domestic and foreign investment. The partnership focuses on regional economic integration, reaching from policy making to implementation, from institutions to best practices and procedures.

It spans across a number of priorities, such as trade agreements, trade in goods and services, harmonisation and cooperation regarding sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules. Following agreement in Addis Ababa in June 2010 between the Africa Union Commission and the EU Commission, a specific subject of cooperation relates to raw materials and will cover three areas: i) governance ii) infrastructure /investment and iii) geological knowledge /skills.

Who will benefit from the partnership and how?

The partnership benefits traders, investors as well as regional and national institutions in Africa and Europe. This in turn brings advantages to the African population at large, by increasing employment and revenues and providing access to more and better goods and services. The European Union stands to benefit from common political positions that the two continents establish, e.g. in international fora. Regional integration that furthers peace, stability and growth also has multiple positive affects for Europe since it is Africa’s neighbouring continent.

What has been achieved so far?

Key projects under the first Action Plan (2008-2010) address:

  • sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules which are key for consumers’ health and for exporting agricultural and fishery products to European and world markets
  • the removal of technical barriers to trade which hinder exports of industrial products
  • the improvement of the quality of African statistics, as an important condition for defining sound public strategy

European Development Fund national and regional programmes contributed to the grant financing of missing links of the trans-African highway (TAH). The regional orientation of the partnership towards infrastructure tripled the contribution of the national and regional EDF programmes to the trans-African highway corridors, from about €100 million per year from 2002-2007 to approximately €300 million from 2008 onwards.

Example: EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) responds to the African demand for a more flexible delivery of grants to leverage loans for large-scale infrastructure projects with a regional dimension. It is a successful example of an integrated EU instrument combining grants from the European Development Fund and EU Member States resources with loans from eligible financing institutions.

The ITF is managed by the European Investment Bank and jointly run through a steering committee of EU and African members. It currently comprises 12 Member States as donors with a total endowment of €388.7 million. The total allocation from the Commission now stands at €308.7 million with the remaining €80 million allocated by the participating EU Member States.

To date, 31 grant operations have been approved. The total project costs amount to over €2 billion – each euro of European funding is expected to generate €12 in total investment.

Examples of supported projects include:

  • hydro-electric schemes (e.g. Felou in West Africa);
  • electricity interconnection schemes (e.g. Benin-Togo; Namibia- Zambia);
  • roads, railways, airports and ports (e.g. Beira, Walvis Bay; Pointe Noire, Port Louis; Jomo ; Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya; Great Eastern Road, Zambia);
  • East African Submarine Cable system (EASSy), a fibre optic cable linking southern and eastern African countries into the international communications network.

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