Following-up on the 6th European Union - African Union summit, Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen travelled to Niger, Ivory Coast and Ghana this week to strengthen the EU's partnership with these key regional partners under the Global Gateway strategy. She launched the new cycle of cooperation under NDICI-Global Europe, with the signature of the several cooperation projects in the areas of sustainable cocoa, agricultural water management, climate, governance, security, vocational training and education.
"In these times of global instability, what is needed more than ever is our common engagement on geopolitical issues and promoting shared values which are at the heart of our renewed partnership with Africa. Under the Global Gateway strategy, my visit to Niger, Ivory Coast and Ghana, allowed to reaffirm the strong commitment of the European Union to be Africa's partner of choice and support its efforts to achieve more sustainable and inclusive development" , said Commissioner Urpilainen.
The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss with our partners the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on security and food prices and the regional situation in West Africa ahead of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance in Madrid on 4 April and the high level event on food and nutrition crises in the Sahel and lake Chad regions in Paris on 6 April, as well as to engage with civil society, entrepreneurs involved in sustainable business initiatives, youth and women.
On Tuesday, 29 March, in Niamey, Commissioner Urpilainen discussed with President Bazoum the latest developments in the Sahel region and neighbouring partnersincluding the current food and nutrition crisis in the region - an important priority for the EU in its cooperation with Niger.
With the minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Massoudou, Commissioner launched the joint priorities of the partnership between the EU and Niger, with €300 million from NDICI-Global Europe for 2021 to support for stability and security in Niger and the region, develop human capital and support sustainable, inclusive and digital growth.
The Commissioner visited the ‘Misola' production unit of fortified flour in Niamey, headed by the women's association Tachi da kanka and supported by the EU. This high protein energy food is designed to prevent and treat malnutrition of infants and young children. Commissioner also discussed with Education minister Ousman support for education, another joint cooperation priority, in particular to bring back to school 2.6 million out of school pupils.
On Wednesday, 30 March, in Abidjan, Commissioner Urpilainen met President Ouattara, and Prime Minister Achi and discussed the priorities of the partnership between the EU and Ivory Coast: the development of human capital, in particular education, support for sustainable, inclusive and digital growth, as well as support for the stability and security of Ivory Coast. The first projects worth €58 million were launched, laying the ground for Team Europe initiatives supporting sustainable cocoa production, low carbon transition and security.
In this context, Commissioner Urpilainen also visited in Azaguie one of the most advanced agroforestry cocoa plantations supported by Team Europe to highlight the efforts made by Ivory Coast to combat deforestation and achieve sustainable agriculture that respects the environment and creates decent jobs. The EU will support best practices of sustainable plantation in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon, under a regional programme worth €25 million.
Commissioner Urpilainen then continued her visit to Accra, Ghana, where she met President Akufo-Addo. The meeting reaffirmed strong ties and deepening partnership between the EU and Ghana, particularly in the domains of energy, green growth, youth entrepreneurship, and health, vaccines and education. They also discussed the regional security situation in West Africa and Sahel. On 31 March, under the Global Gateway strategy, Commissioner Urpilainen launched the new cycle of cooperation for Ghana under joint programming to support the following priorities: green growth for jobs, smart and sustainable cities, good governance and security. Commissioner Urpilainen signed an agreement for a project to build irrigation infrastructure in Northern Ghana, also with participation of France, and to which the EU contributes with €44.7 million.
Commissioner Urpilainen then visited the laboratories of the Food and Drug Authority (FDA), which regulates local manufacturing of vaccines and is supported by the EU and Germany as Team Europe. She confirmed Ghana is a priority country for the Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa (MAV+). She also visited InnoHub, an accelerator supporting young entrepreneurs in the green and circular economy.
The Global Gateway Africa – Europe Investment Package is the first regional package under the EU's broader Global Gateway investment strategy. It aims to mobilise up to €150 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 for Africa to support a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation and will support the renewed partnership agreed at the EU-AU Summit on 17 and 18 February in Brussels.
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