CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
December 2019 - No. 631


EU Aid Explorer: the tool that answers your development aid questions

The EU and its Member States are the world's biggest development partners but which countries receive aid? From whom? And for what? The EU Aid Explorer has the answers! Launched earlier this year, Commission experts in charge of the project answer key questions about the tool and its success.

What are the main features?
Through a dashboard, it presents development assistance data from general financial statistics all the way down to geo-localisation of projects. You can see who gives development aid, who receives it, in which sector and through which channel – and combine any of these criteria.
For example, you can easily find out how much Germany gives to Ethiopia in the 'food assistance' sector – and through which channels, for the last 10 years or so. You can then drill down to individual projects going on in the field. And that's all through just a few clicks, through maps and graphs. But its simplicity hides a very complex development process. Indeed, the database behind it has above 6 million lines!

Why was it created? Why is it important?
Frankly, because what existed before in the different databases was difficult to access! You need a PhD in econometrics just to make sense of it all. Of course, some Member States already had their own tools, but it only reflected their own data so it was quite limited. Now anyone who is interested can find what they're looking for in just a few seconds. It allows us to be fully accountable and to inform citizens. It's also important because it shows very clearly the gaps in reporting: every flaw is revealed. That was a bit of a surprise for us! So it's an incentive for us and the Member States to publish quality data.

How was it created?
Initially, the tool was going to be developed by an external contractor. But I told Laurent, who'd just become head of the unit, we can do this together! The challenges were many. From a data point of view, it was very complex: we had to match the different databases to avoid double counting and ensure the data presented was statistically reliable. We also had to remember to keep it simple! We had to find the right compromise between the powerfulness of the EU Aid Explorer and its user friendliness. We also had to understand each other, speak the same language, and match expectations on transparency with statistical solidity! But it went really well, and we had a small team of very inspired and competent colleagues working on it. It's a great example of breaking silos.
Finally, after an intensive 15 months of work, we had a tool which, though still imperfect, was ready to launch. The feedback we receive over the few months will help us develop an EU Aid 2.0 in a year or so.

Source: EC, 11 November 2019

Featured CTA partner

  • The European Investment Bank is unlocking transformative investment supporting gender equality and female entrepreneurs
  • Boosting innovative digital and financial solutions for women
Promoting gender-responsive climate financing
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched SheInvest, a new initiative to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment. The aim is to mobilise EUR 1 billion of investment that can benefit millions of women across Africa with better access to finance and by making sustainable infrastructure services and products work for them. This initiative was launched simultaneously at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg and at the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg.

Building on experience in northern and sub-Saharan African countries as well as in gender focused lending, the EIB will step up efforts to further invest in projects, sectors and markets that have a transformative effect on gender equality and can increase the capacity of women and girls to participate in the economy and labour market. In addition, dedicated Technical Assistance will provide capacity building and mentoring to women entrepreneurs so that they can better access finance and will support intermediaries in designing financial products tailored to their needs.

SheInvest will focus particularly on investment in innovative digital solutions and financial products to reach women and girls who are often excluded from such services. This should increase their economic opportunities and social inclusion.
The initiative also aims to promote gender-responsive climate financing, acknowledging the key role played by women in climate action and at the same time addressing their vulnerability to climate change impacts. Investment will therefore target climate and gender responsive infrastructure projects, such as projects enhancing women’s access to water, clean, reliable and affordable energy, as well as sustainable public transport. Investment under this initiative will be guided by the
2X Challenge criteria, that the EU Bank adopted to increase the impact of its financing for gender equality and women economic empowerment in developing countries.

About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The EIB is present in more than 160 countries. To improve the impact of its activities on women and girls, the EIB adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a  Gender Action Plan with the aim of embedding gender equality and, in particular women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model covering its lending, blending and advising work within and outside the EU.

More information on EIB gender equality initiatives

About the 2X Challenge
The “2X Challenge” calls for the G7 and other DFIs to collectively mobilise $3 billion to support women’s economic empowerment in developing countries by the end of 2020. Fulfilling one of the four criteria of the 2X challenge makes an investment eligible.
More information:
The European Investment Bank (EIB) adopts the 2X Challenge Criteria to increase its impact on gender equality.

Source: EIB, 12 November 2019
38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali 

Climate change and food security, migration, sustainable growth and the post-Cotonou ACP-EU agreement were the focus of the 38th session of the assembly.
Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians of 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, as part of the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly, from 17 to 21 November 2019.
The opening session was followed by a debate with Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International cooperation and development.
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame addressed the session on Wednesday 20 November. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, made a statement followed by a debate on Thursday 21 November.

Press Releases DEVE, 12 November 2019

Strategic Events

ACP 9th Summit Stresses Commitment to Multilateralism

Themed A Transformed ACP: Committed to multilateralism, is happening ahead of next year’s conclusion of the Cotonou Agreement, a comprehensive agreement signed between the ACP group of nations and the European Union. The Summit culminated the Nairobi Nguvu Ya Pamoja Declaration (Nairobi Strength for Unity) Declaration, setting up of an ACP endowment fund as well as setting up of the first ever Women and Youth Fund.
At this summit, where Papua New Guinea passed on the head of ACP group baton to the host president Uhuru Kenyatta, outgoing president Patrick Pruaitch expressed hope that Kenyatta would take the group to the next level in this process of transformation and repositioning that commenced three years ago.
Since the signing of Georgetown Agreement 44 years ago, global dynamics have changed with today’s multipolar world characterized by competing geopolitical interests, new challenges to peace and security and unprecedented constraints to the free movement of people. But despite the enormous challenges, leaders at the summit expressed confidence in the ACP group’s continued thrive, standing out as the world’s largest transcontinental formal organization.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who takes over office as president of ACP group for the next three years, gave an assurance that the visions and goals of the group will be placed at the very center of all engagement and that ACP becomes a beacon of hope and multilateralism.
Africa has signaled its intentions through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) – with 54 AU member states already subscribed to it. Africa is poised to be the continent’s commercial trade and investment facility based in its 1.2 billion population with a combined GDP of US$73 trillion.
In the 21st century, all institutional configurations underlined in the ACP-EU relation as defined by the Lome Convention are irrelevant to the present and the future. As the ACP group finalizes revision of the Georgetown Agreement, he argued that the importance of institutionalizing inter-ACP engagement and empower the ACP secretariat to become states.

ACP Secretariat, 10 December 2019


EIB expands investment to West Africa

The European Investment Bank agreed at the Africa Investment Forum, in South Africa on 11 November, to support membership expansion of the African Trade Insurance Agency -ATI, with three prospective members – Cameroon, Niger and Togo. The investment insurance is expected to transform public and private sector investment in the countries,by strengthening investment and reducing project financing costs.
The EIB will finance capital participation that will enable the three countries to access guarantee and insurance mechanisms provided by ATI. Full membership in ATI is expected to follow in the coming months.

Source: New Europe 12 November 2019
Dutch to pay EU for Caribbean customs

The European Union’s (EU’s) highest court found Thursday that the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands must repay the trade bloc for customs duties that their overseas territories failed to collect.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice held that “by virtue of the special relations linking Anguilla to the United Kingdom, that member state is accountable to the European Union for the acts and omissions of the authorities of Anguilla.” It ruled similarly in the case involving the Netherlands. That decision is only available in Dutch.

In both cases, the overseas country or territory improperly claimed that goods being exported to the EU met the requirements to be exempted from tariffs. The EU allows for the free movement of goods between its member states if the products originated in the country itself.

The case against the UK involves Anguilla, a self-governing overseas territory, while the Dutch case involves Aruba and Curaçao. Between 1999 and 2000, Anguilla imported aluminium and then resold it, without tariffs, to Italy. Curaçao, between 1997 and 2000, wrongly claimed that it produced milk powder and rice that it sold to both the Netherlands and Germany. Aruba did the same between 2002 and 2003 with groats and meal, which are components of grains. All these schemes were uncovered by the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Coordination Unit and the facts of those cases were not in dispute.

In 2010, the European Commission requested that the UK compensate the EU for the loss of tax revenue, and asked the same of the Netherlands in 2012. In both cases, the Commission argued that because the UK and the Netherlands are EU member states, they are responsible for the bloc’s financial loss.

Both the UK and the Netherlands refused to pay and the European Commission brought both cases to the European Court of Justice in 2017. The Netherlands and the UK joined each other’s cases in support and argued that Anguilla, Aruba and Curaçao improperly exported the goods and therefore should be held responsible.

Aruba and Curaçao “had their own Constitution and had a high degree of autonomy” and were responsible for the issuing of export certificates, the Netherlands argued in its pleadings. The UK maintained a similar stance regarding Anguilla. However, the 13-judge panel disagreed. They wrote that the Netherlands is “required to take all general or specific measures appropriate to ensure compliance with the Treaties or the acts of the institutions of obligations arising from the Union.” The judges used similar reasoning in the UK case.

Both countries were found to be obligated “to compensate any loss of own resources, together with any default interest.” For the Netherlands, the EU claimed that it lost more than US $20 million from Curaçao and $332,000 from Aruba. The European Commission did not provide a specific number with regard to Anguilla. The judgment in both cases is final and cannot be appealed.

Source: Daily Herald, 5 November 2019

The European Union has adopted additional funding worth €275 million from the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for programmes in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel and Lake Chad region that support regional stability and local communities and assist migrants and refugees.

In the Horn of Africa, the EU will support refugees, migration management, regional stability and job creation with €204.9 million. Part of this funding will boost pioneering efforts to implement the Global Compact on Refugees. Kenya, for example, will receive an additional €7.6 million for its work with refugees and local communities in Kalobeyei, Kakuma and Dadaab. In Uganda, a €10 million programme to support the government’s environmental response plan for refugee hosting areas will help prevent and address deforestation and other detrimental impacts on the environment.

Other examples of funding decisions for the Horn of Africa include a new €16 million programme in South Sudan that will help improve rural communities’ connectivity, resilience and food security through better infrastructure. Also in South Sudan, funding worth €5 million will promote gender equality through national laws and policies, and foster the socio-economic and political participation of women and girls. In countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the EU supports resilience, stability and migration management with €70.2 million.

Source: EC, 13 December 2019

The European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya. The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership: €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya's public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.

€5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya's Vision 2030 (link is external) and ‘Big 4' agenda.
During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU.

Source: EC, 09 December 2019

On the occasion of her first official visit outside Europe, the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced today in Addis Ababa a significant boost to the EU's cooperation with Ethiopia.
The €170 million package aims to support the country's reforms and includes:

  • €100 million for key economic reforms in the transport and logistic sectors; to boost regional competitiveness and facilitate Ethiopia's trade and economic cooperation with neighbouring countries.
  • €50 million to support the Government of Ethiopia's Health Transformation Plan for three additional years (2020-2022). This programme aims to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of health facilities and reduce the financial barriers people face to access essential services.
  • €10 million to support accountability and transparency during the 2020 elections in Ethiopia. This programme specifically aims at strengthening the technical and administrative capacity of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, as well as its engagement with political parties, civil society and media. Germany will also add €10 million to this programme, bringing the overall support for it to €20 million.
  • €10 million to improve the business climate in the country. As part of the Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs, the EU is promoting private investment and supporting trade creation, economic integration and value chain development in partner countries, including Ethiopia.

Source: EC, 07 December 2019

Key resources

Doing business in West Africa is getting easier, notably in Togo

Togo stands out from the crowd in the latest “Doing Business“ ranking. For the second year in a row, the country is among the ten economies that improved the most. Moving up from rank 156 (2018) to rank 97 (2020), Togo became the best-performing West African country. The country implemented reforms making it easier to start a business and access credit and electricity. It also lowered fees for construction permits, and streamlined property registration procedures.

Nigeria was also among the top ten business climate improvers, notably thanks to improved contract enforcement. Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo improved access to credit information. While paying taxes was made easier and/or less costly in Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia and Senegal, it became more complicated in Ghana, Liberia and Mali.

West African countries made substantial investments to modernise electricity infrastructure and improve distribution network maintainance. For example, Ghana and Nigeria reduced electricity connection times. Despite progress, West Africa remains overall a low-performing region with an average score of 52.3, below the global average of 63. Ten West African countries rank in the bottom 50, and only two African countries (Mauritius, rank 13 and Rwanda, rank 38), are among the top 50.

Club Sahel-West Africa, 14 November 2019

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The 2019 Europe Sustainable Development Report

The 2019 Europe Sustainable Development Report, which identifies policy priorities for the European Union (EU) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implement the Paris Climate Agreement. The report compares the performance of the EU and its 28 member states on all 17 SDGs and provides detailed country profiles using a mix of data sources

SDSN 2019

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Megatrends in Africa

A Study Commissioned for Development Policy: Megatrends in Africa - Population Growth, Climate Change, Urbanisation, Migration, Technological Development and Democratic Development. In 2019, the Department for Africa and the Middle East of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs commissioned two Finnish development policy studies on Africa. This study deals with megatrends in Africa. The authors are Professors Petri Pellikka and Mikael Mattlin from the University of Helsinki, Dr. Leena Vastapuu, from the Tampere Peace Research Institute and Dr. Emma Hakala, from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Megatrends in Africa are deep and long-term transformation processes that are irreversible. They can and should be mitigated, but will inevitably require adaptation as well. The trends also have an element of foresight, in regards to how they are set to develop in the future.
All the megatrends are interlinked and affect each other. Population growth and climate change can be seen as mega-megatrends that have an especially strong effect on the other trends.
The study contains reports on all six megatrends, which are examined through a Pan-African lens. The study also includes a summary of all megatrends and the interaction of their effects.

MOFA Finland, 2019

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Brussels Briefing n. 58 on Agroecology for Sustainable Food Systems
15 January 2020, ACP Secretariat,
Avenue Georges Henri 451,
1200 Brussels, Room C

This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

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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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