CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
November 2019 - No. 630


38th Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA)

The JPA discussed the following key areas for agriculture :

  • The state of food security and nutrition in the context of sustainable agricultural production
As the world population continues to grow, further effort and innovation are urgently needed in order to sustainably increase agricultural production. The Sustainable Development Goal 2 recognizes the interlinkages between supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles and tackling climate change. Beyond an adequate calories intake, proper nutrition has other dimensions that deserve attention, including micronutrient availability and healthy diets.
  • Migration and sustainable growth for people: investments in micro, small and medium enterprises and startups
For ACP countries, the challenge of creating new jobs is enormous. In SubSaharan Africa, some 18 million additional jobs would be needed every year. Unemployment is pushing many to migrate to neighbouring or more distant countries, with well-known risks and with resulting tragedies in many cases. Job creation is crucial and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) tend to have the biggest potential for this. For MSMEs to get off the ground and flourish, access to credit, fostering of entrepreneurial skills, access to markets and fair opportunities to compete in them, including against foreign competitors, are needed. A sound business environment and supportive measures, including by the EU, can help and fair terms in trade agreements and aid for trade also play an important role.
Committee Reports
  • Sustainable industrialisation and digitalisation: the approach and industrialisation and digitalisation policies for ACP countries
Global commitments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals stress the importance of technology, innovation and access to information and communication technologies (ICT) for sustainable economic and social development across all industries. Sustainable industrialisation and adequate digitalisation infrastructures are crucial to social and economic development for ACP countries; in particular, for those still classified as least developed countries that also suffer from a vast digital divide in access to information and communication technologies. It is therefore essential to create inclusive and sustainable strategies on digital infrastructures in order to enhance manufacturing production, find new sustainable ways to diversify productive capacities, improve trade environment and investment climate and provide ICT access for all.
Urgent resolutions
  • Challenges addressed at the COP25
More frequent and devastating natural disasters, alarming scientific reports stressing the urgency of much stronger climate action and vigorous youth and other campaigns for such action are putting the climate issue at the centre of attention. 
  • The threat of climate change to fisheries and aquaculture

Fisheries and aquaculture play an important role for livelihoods and food security in ACP countries, many of which are small island developing states, as the sector provides one of the most important sources of protein, and millions depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. Changing regional climates and rising sea levels alter the availability of species, and bring about fundamental changes in eco-systems of reefs, wetlands, rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters. The JPA will highlight these challenges and discuss urgent political action to improve the resilience and the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in the face of a changing climate.

Source: European Parliament, November 2019

Featured CTA partner

Enabel and the private sector, an engine for inclusive growth

Enabel, the Belgian development agency, implements and coordinates Belgium’s international development policy on behalf of the Belgian government. The agency is mandated to execute Belgium’s governmental cooperation with fourteen partner countries, mainly in Africa. Enabel also carries out actions for other donors, such as the European Union, the World Bank and the UNDP. With 1400 staff, 70% of whom are local employees, Enabel manages some 150 development projects totalling annual disbursements of 200 million euro.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Belgian international development has in recent years increasingly focused on partnerships with other players, including the private sector. This is in line with the renewed development paradigm created by the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, with international development cooperation shifting from a North versus South approach to a global engagement from all countries to reach the SDGs. In Belgium, the private sector, civil society, the academic world and the public sector all signed the Belgian SDG Charter for International Development.
This creates a great opportunity for everyone involved to go beyond corporate social responsibility and analyse how each can be engaged in this new dynamic.

Global partnerships
“We are living in a globalised world where borders fade away between countries, between the private and the public sector, between business and international development,” explains Jean Van Wetter, Managing Director of Enabel. “Whilst this creates new challenges, it is also an excellent opportunity to join forces, exchange expertise and share ideas in order to find sustainable and innovative solutions.”
Belgium’s international development policy focuses on two complementary axes: a rights-based approach, and inclusive economic growth. Since the private sector and entrepreneurship are the drivers of this growth, Enabel puts particular emphasis on the development of the local private sector: Enabel provides support to improve the business climate in partner countries, strengthens economic value chains and entrepreneurs’ capacities, and stimulates local and foreign investment. In times in which digital tools become more and more important, it is crucial to provide opportunities to local entrepreneurs by supporting their digital solutions, especially in countries with huge growth potential.

What does Enabel offer?
Successful entrepreneurship is only possible when the necessary basic infrastructure is in place, if the business climate is favourable, the workforce is skilled and adapted to the needs of the labour market, if value chains are organised and strengthened, if market access is facilitated and when entrepreneurs’ capacities are strengthened. Themes on which Enabel has significant experience in its partner countries. Working mainly in countries and territories where economic fragility can hinder partnership and foreign investment opportunities, the objective of Enabel is to improve the business environment to significantly reduce risks and foster the emergence of economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs and, through them, for everyone.
This is done for instance by improving infrastructure. In Congo, for example, where bad road conditions are a major obstacle to accessing markets and selling products, Enabel invests in roads to create better access and thus more opportunities for local businesses.

Five new cooperation programmes
The new cooperation programmes that Belgium signed in 2018 with Burkina Faso, Guinea, Benin, Senegal and Rwanda each develop a strategy in line with national priorities for, among others, economic development. For example, in Senegal, Enabel supports the industrialisation of the agri-food sector means the creation of fully equipped agro-industrial parks integrated into road and maritime transport networks and financial and judicial support for the structuring of the fleet management system.
 Enabel’s role is therefore complementary to that of other organisations promoting the private sector, such as Credendo, Finexpo or BIO-invest, as well as investment funds.

Source: Perspectives, October 2019


  • More reliable communications for 7.5 million Orange Guinée customers in West African country
  • Mobile phone access to be expanded to previously unconnected remote rural areas
  • 1500 telecom towers to use solar power and battery storage to reduce significantly diesel consumption and 1700 new jobs to be created
The European Investment Bank today confirmed its support to transformational telecom investment across Guinee. A new USD 30 million long-term loan with IPT Powertech Guinea represents the first ever support for an energy services company in Africa by Europe’s long-term lending institution and the first EIB investment to reduce use of diesel generators by energy-efficient sources for telecom infrastructure.

Ensuring and expanding reliable communications
The new project will ensure more reliable energy supply for 1,500 Orange Telecom towers across Guinea. At present mobile phone services can be unavailable for 4 hours a day due to power shortages. New investment by IPT Powertech, backed by the EIB, will also support construction of 250 new energy efficient mobile communications towers that will enable telecom coverage to be provided for the first time to remote rural regions.
Cutting use of fossil fuels and risk of theft. Replacement of fossil-fuel diesel generators and air conditioning units with solar panels and battery technology will also reduce the risk of damage caused by diesel theft from telecom towers in remote locations. The project is expected to enable energy saving of more than 75% to be achieved and contribute to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlocking sustainable development, economic and social benefits
Across Africa and around the world mobile connectivity has transformed the lives of billions of people and quality of life improved as people gain access to mobile technology. In Guinea for many people mobile is the primary channel for accessing the internet and life-enhancing services. This project will contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help to reduce poverty, improve healthcare and education, and drive sustainable economic growth across Guinea. European cooperation to strengthen high-impact telecom investment
Alongside the USD 30 million EIB loan financing the project will also be supported by DEG from Germany, Proparco from France and Finnfund from Finland. Building on European Investment Bank telecom and energy efficiency engagement across Africa.

Source: EIB, 11 November 2019
  • Private sector investment across Malawi to benefit from new EUR 7 million lending programme
  • FDH Bank agree first joint credit line with European Investment Bank
  • First partnership with EIB agreed at Africa Investment Forum
  • EIB confirms new scheme to transform agricultural investment in Malawi

The European Investment Bank and FDH Bank today formally agreed their first loan agreement that will support private sector investment across Malawi. Entrepreneurs and private business across the country will benefit from a new EUR 7 million credit line managed by the leading local financial services provider and backed a EUR 3.5 million loan from the long-term lending institution of the European Union. Plans for a pioneering financing programme to promote sustainable agriculture investment across Malawi have also been confirmed.

Ensuring access to finance for sustainable development
The new EUR 7 million credit line will support new private sector investment across a range of sectors and be provided through the FDH Branch network across Malawi. The new Malawi credit line is part of a EUR 100 million private sector financing programme across Southern Africa supported by the European Investment Bank.

Kulima initiative to transform agriculture and smallholder investment confirmed
Economic opportunities for thousands of small holders across Malawi are expected to be transformed under a new initiative to ensure dedicated support for long-term investment by agriculture companies in the country.
FDH Bank has been selected as the first bank in Malawi that will finance smallholder, agriculture and agribusiness investment under a new scheme that is currently being finalised and expected to be launched early next year. Other financial institutions are expected to join later.
The new Kulima programme will help agriculture companies to modernise and harness the full economic, employment and export potential of agriculture as well as expand business with local smallholders. The new agriculture financing initiative will address the gap of long-term funding in the agricultural sector identified as a key barrier to economic growth in Malawi.

European Union support for agricultural and sustainable development in Malawi
The agricultural financing scheme has been designed to tackle specific investment gaps currently hindering expansion in the sector. This is part of a broader European Commission programme to promote farming in Malawi and promote sustainable agricultural growth. This is expected to strengthen agriculture in Malawi and increase income, employment and food security in the context of a changing climate.

Unlocking long-term investment to strengthen agriculture across Malawi
Agriculture is the leading source of economic activity, employment and exports in Malawi. Agriculture contributes directly and indirectly to 65% of all jobs in the country.
The new initiative is designed to increase investment activity by agricultural companies and by making available funding in Malawi Kwacha will mitigate against exposure to foreign exchange risks that currently hinder agriculture investment.
Improving specialist banking support for agriculture in Malawi
The impact of the new Kulima Agriculture Value Chain Facility will be strengthened by a dedicated technical assistance programme. This will improve financial assessment and monitoring of long-term agriculture investment by local banks.

Source: EIB, 11 November 2019

In the margins of the 2019 Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, the European Commission signed two guarantee agreements with two Member States' development finance institution: the Dutch 'Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V' (FMO) and the Italian 'Cassa Depositi e Prestiti' (CDP). These guarantee agreements are part of the implementation of the EU External Investment Plan, the financial arm of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.

This €40 million guarantee agreement is a partnership with FMO, the Dutch development bank. It targets Sub-Saharan Africa and the EU Neighbourhood. It will guarantee venture capital provided by FMO to start-up companies, in particular led by young entrepreneurs. The companies will use technology to lower the costs of making or supplying products and services that were previously unaffordable to many people. The guarantee will target companies offering digital solutions in a wide range of areas, from agriculture, access to energy and financial services to education, healthcare, transport and logistics. It will support up to 125,000 new jobs, directly and indirectly.

Archipelagos One4A – One Platform for Africa
The €30 million Archipelagos guarantee agreement is a partnership with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the Italian Development Bank, and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It will support access to finance across Africa for high potential small businesses. In order to help their growth, the programme supported by the guarantee will provide financing through innovative capital markets solutions. It will also enable financing partners to share the risk of investing in projects. By doing so it will generate up to 50,000 jobs, many for young people, and benefit about 1,500 small businesses in 10 African countries.
These guarantees are part of the External Investment Plan, which, by investing €4.5 billion, is set to leverage €44 billion in total investment. Out of the total budget, the EU has already allocated €4.2 billion.

Source: EC, 12 November 2019

On 6th November, the African Union (AU) - European Union (EU) partnership
officially launched the Pan African Network for economic Analysis of Policies (PANAP Network). The PANAP Network aims to strengthen the cooperation of researchers and policy makers when designing policies to reinforce the stability of the agriculture and food sectors in Africa.
The Network will also help to increase the sustainability of the African agricultural and food sectors, leading to an increase in food and nutrition security in line with the Zero Hunger target of the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitment laid out in the Malabo Declaration to end hunger in Africa by 2025 and of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To do this, the Network will boost knowledge exchange between African governmental and research entities on how to develop scientific evidence to assess the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of new policies in the farming and food sectors. The Network will work with key stakeholders, researchers, data analysts and policymakers. PANAP was founded under the coordination of the European Commission department responsible for agriculture and rural development, and the European Commission department for international cooperation and development. In cooperation with a network of institutions including the JRC, PANAP aims to develop research on African agricultural economic and policy issues.

Source: EC, 06 November 2019

The European Union aims for a "more strategic and political" relationship with Timor-Leste, while at the same time strengthening the cooperation agenda through a new funding mechanism, the new European Union ambassador in Dili told Lusa.
The European support programme for Timor-Leste, under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020), totals 95 million euros, of which 15 million euros this year, divided essentially between the sector of good governance (30 million euros), rural development (57 million euros) and support programmes (eight million euros). The new European financing instrument will also include a commitment to improving the conditions for doing business and boosting investment.

Source: EEAS, 06 November 2019

Key resources

Africa's Development Dynamics 2019: Achieving Productive Transformation

What are the major economic and social trends in Africa? What is Africa’s role in globalisation? This annual report presents an Africa open to the world and towards the future. Africa’s Development Dynamics uses the lessons learned in the five African regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa – to develop recommendations and share good practices. The report identifies innovative policies and offers practical policy recommendations, adapted to the specificities of African economies. Drawing on the most recent available statistics, this analysis of development dynamics aims to help African leaders reach the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels: continental, regional, national, and local. Every year this report will focus on one strategic theme.

This 2019 edition explores policies for productive transformation. It proposes three main policy focus for transforming firms: providing business services to clusters of firms; developing regional production networks; and improving exporting firms’ ability to thrive in fast-changing markets. This volume feeds into a policy debate between African Union’s nations, citizens, entrepreneurs and researchers. It aims to be part of a new co-operation between countries and regions focused on mutual learning and the preservation of common goods. This report is the result of a partnership between the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.

Source: OECD, 05 November 2019

Download a free copy of the report

A necessary shake-up: EU programming for international cooperation

This paper looks at the next programming phase for the European Union (EU)’s external resources and asks how programming can be harnessed as a space to make EU external action more consistent and innovative in aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its own external action objectives. We conclude that, while opportunities exist, the risk of institutional inertia and an unchanged programming process is high. If the EU is to deliver on its commitments and ambitions, some thought needs to go into how to steer innovation, including through active engagement of the new EU leadership. 

Much work has already gone into preparing programming to make the EU more strategic, purposeful and adaptable. How ready is the EU to programme according to its own political commitments and ambitions? Making choices around priorities will be a tough but necessary task for the next programming phase to exploit synergies as well as manage tensions among different EU objectives. Solid analysis could be used to help identify pathways for change at country level and the EU’s role in steering this.

The SDGs require new ways of working and using resources through more integrated, cross-sectoral and systemic approaches. But there is no recipe that fits all purposes and contexts. Sectoral approaches can fulfil the objectives of some partner countries, while being too rigid to tackle multilayered political issues in others. This time around, the EU aims to work more closely with other actors, including member states and the UN, as well as across its own institutions. Programming is the space where such innovations need to happen.

Source: ECDPM November 2019

Download a copy of the report


European Parliament Plenary session
25-28 November 2019
European Parliament, Strasbourg, France
EC-Infopoint - The end of extreme poverty
28/11/2019 - 12:30 to 14:00
Rue de la Loi 43-45, Ground floor,
Civil Society Dialogue on the EU’s approach to the World Trade Organization
02/12/2019, 11:00-13:00
Conference Centre Albert Borschette,
Room 1.C, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels
The 2019 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference
Tuesday 10 December 2019, 8.00 - Wednesday 11 December 2019, 16.30
Room De Gasperi,
Charlemagne building
Rue de la Loi 170
1040 Brussels
This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Felix Ajong (
Technical support: Thierry Lewyllie (

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
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