CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
July 2019 - No. 612


The third African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) ministerial conference

The third African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) ministerial conference took place in Rome on 21 June 2019, where both Unions committed to further strengthening the partnership in food and farming. This was supported by the co-signature of a political declaration and an action agenda.
The AU-EU ministerial meetings take place on an ad hoc basis to monitor the progress achieved between summits, and to advance cooperation between both continents in certain fields.
Building on the results of the successful previous conference in 2017, around 400 invited high-level representatives and stakeholders from Africa and Europe debated on how to further unlock the potential for a positive rural transformation and an inclusive and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector in Africa.
The representatives for the first time endorsed a Political Declaration, accompanied by an action agenda, with the aim of further strengthening the Africa-EU partnership in food and farming at all levels.

CTA facilitated a session on Digital solutions in agriculture which brought together researchers, policy-makers, farmers, private sector
The session presented an overview of the state of digitalisation in agriculture in Africa and highlighted challenges and opportunities, including greater rural connectivity, robust data infrastructure, enabling policy and regulatory frameworks, and digital skills development. A number of recommendations emerged for improved AU-EU collaboration to move this agenda forward, which were reported to the Plenary by the Ministers of Agriculture of Senegal and Spain. They included:

  • Policy support is a key driver of digitalisation in agriculture
Joint programmes and actions could focus on the data protection and codes
of conduct needed at government and value chain actors' level, especially for farmers.
  • Digitalisation has to be inclusive and support sustainable agriculture
The digital divide needs to be reduced. There are very good practices in Europe
and Africa on investments in rural areas targeting vulnerable and remote agricultural areas.
  • Capacity development in E-skills is a success factor to E-agriculture

      To keep up with the technology developments, it is critical to build digital skills for the actors in the value chain.
The CTA-Dalbert report on “The digitalisation of African Agriculture Report 2018-2019” was launched and presented to the AU-EU Commissioners for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan and Josepha Sacko. [Read the report]

>Declaration and Action Agenda
>Report: An Africa-Europe agenda for rural transformation - Task Force Rural Africa

Featured CTA partner

Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General, UNCTAD was our guest at the European Development Days 2019

Isabelle Durant is since July 2017 the Deputy Secretary General at UNCTAD. Former Minister and Senator of Belgium as well as Vice-President of the European Parliament, Ms Durant has a solid experience in public affairs, intergovernmental processes and concrete assistance to countries. Ms. Durant served as Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Transport and Energy for four years. Ms. Durant was in charge of the direct supervision on Mobility, Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainable Development policies between 1999 and 2003. As such, she chaired alongside the government of the time, the presidency of the European Union and particularly the presidency of the EU Council of Transport Ministers.

As Vice-President of the European Parliament for the period 2009 to 2014, Ms. Durant chaired different permanent delegations (e.g. EU- ACP countries following the Cotonou agreement and Economic Partnership Agreements). She was also a member of the European Parliament Budget Committee, working with the European Investment Bank on Eurobonds supporting infrastructure investment as well as the following of Galileo (the European Union's Global Satellite Navigation System) which is an industrial project of considerable size providing an accurate global positioning. She was also the responsible Vice-President for the relations between the European Parliament and the civil society. As a Belgian Senator from 2003 - 2009, Ms. Durant served on the Committees for Foreign Affairs and Social Affairs.

Immediately prior to becoming Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Durant was a member of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region and of the Economic Affairs committee. In the framework of a large reform of regional economic tools, she was especially involved in innovation, sharing and circular economy.
She holds a Masters of Science in Economic and Social Policy from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).
Isabelle Durant participated at the CTA, Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Trade for Inclusive Growth: Addressing inequalities through private sector development and investment organised by CTA IFPRI, ACP, BMZ/GIZ and PAFO on 19th June 2019. Isabelle Durant advocated for a sustainable agriculture which benefits smallholders, adds value to the production and strengthens rural development in African regions. We need to draw lessons of some industrialised models applied in other regions. Most of our food is produced by smallholders but they still face obstacles, notably in accessing markets due tariff barriers which exclude them from competitive markets. Local markets present numerous advantages. Governments should accompany male and female farmers to make a better use of technologies and increase coop agroforestry.

Watch interview here

Strategic Events

Boosting sustainable energy in Africa: African and European Partnerships

There are over 650 million people in Africa who have no access to electricity, a sharp contrast with the continent’s renewable energy potential.

The Renewable Energy Forum held in Conakry on 10-14 June aims to boost sustainable energy in Africa to contribute to sustainable growth and for the benefit of individuals.Two key events take place in parallel to the Forum: the “Africa Renewable Energy Initiative” (AREI) Extraordinary Board and the second meeting of the Working Groups of the High-Level Platform on Sustainable Energy Investments in Africa (SEI Platform).  The latter is a task force of experts from both continents created under the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs that will provide forward-looking recommendations to seize the potential of sustainable energy in Africa.

EU support to sustainable energy in Africa

For the period 2014-2020 the EU has allocated around €2.7 billion to sustainable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, and provides technical assistance to African countries in this field. A concrete example of the use of these funds is the 1400 kilometres of high voltage that connect Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, allowing for instance the latter to export its hydropower potential of 6000 megawatts.

The EU’s External Investment Plan has a dedicated window (under the European Fund for Sustainable Development) on sustainable energy and connectivity, which will provide guarantees of up to €600 million to unlock private investments in this sector. An example of a guarantee scheme endorsed is Room2Run (up to €87 million), set up in collaboration with the African Development Bank. It will result in €1-2 billion of new investments in renewable energy in Africa and will create around 15,000 jobs and over 1GW new capacity. Blending operations, mixing grants and private investment are also being set up.

Through the Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI), the EU further boosts investments in the sustainable energy sector in Africa and elsewhere. The 17 ongoing projects seek to generate 1.3 million MWh of electricity, which would provide about 10 million people with electricity. It would also result in 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided (equivalent to 212,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year).

On the African side, acknowledging the urgent need to address the many challenges related to access to energy and climate change, the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was launched in 2015. It is an African-led initiative that aims to add 10 GW to renewable energy production in Africa by 2020 and achieve 300 GW by 2030.

Source, EC, 25 June 2019

National and Regional Authorizing Officers of the Caribbean Region meet in Suriname

A delegation from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States met in Paramaribo, Suriname from 28 to 30 May to carry out the last in the series of seminars with the National and Regional Authorising Officers across the six ACP regions.
The meeting aimed to provide a platform for the main stakeholders involved in the ACP-EU development cooperation in the Caribbean to provide an update of the programming and implementation of their National Indicative programmes (NIPs) and the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP), discuss critical issues and provide recommendations to improve the management of European Development Funds (EDF) resources.
During the meeting recommendations were made regarding the implementation of the projects financed through 11th EDF, which is jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and the ACP Group of States. There was also an exchange of views on the ongoing Post-Cotonou negotiations between the ACP Group of States and the European Union.
The meeting ended with the adoption of the Conclusion Report, which set out the points for attention and recommendations of the meeting. The main observations and conclusions arising from the Caribbean NAO/RAO meetings included:

  • The implementation of projects uses complex rules and procedures that impede rapid implementation
  • Long delays in decision-making processes on the part of the EU, with some decisions being made only in Brussels. The issue of long waiting times also applies to countries that do not have an EU office in their country;
  • Capacity building is required for NAO officials and EU Delegations, as well as private sector and community organizations in EU rules and procedures;
  • Despite the cooperation, participants were concerned by several unilateral decisions taken by the EU, specifically mentioning the "blacklisting" of the Caribbean countries on the EU tax lists with all the negative consequences for these countries. This requires continuous joint consultation between the member countries and the EU;
  • The prejudicial nature of the differentiation policy for small-island middle income States, which are vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters which has resulted in a drastic reduction of their NIPs under EDF 11 compared to EDF 10.
  • ACP Secretariat provided information on the implementation of Intra-ACP Cooperation under the 11th EDF and the best means to access the available fund € 600 million. The meeting proposed the establishment of a regional private sector association, in close consultation with other initiatives in the region including the CARICOM Secretariat.

Source: ACP secretariat, 26 June 2019


Have your say on future objectives for EU-funded research and innovation

The Commission is preparing the implementation of Horizon Europe, the next and most ambitious EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027) with a proposed budget of €100 billion, in an intensive co-design process. The process will help shape European research and innovation investments in the coming years. As part of the process, the Commission has launched an online consultation.
he consultation will collect input from across Europe and beyond. The inputs received will inform the work to prepare a ‘Strategic Plan’ for Horizon Europe, which will then guide the work programmes and calls for proposals for Horizon Europe’s first four years (2021-2024). Overall, the consultation will help identify impacts, spark debate and new ideas. A key event in this co-design process will be the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels from 24 to 26 September 2019.
The co-design process ensures that Horizon Europe is directed towards what matters most, improves our daily lives and helps turn big societal challenges such as climate change into innovation opportunities and solutions for a sustainable future.
The Commission invites anyone with an interest in future EU research and innovation priorities, anywhere in the world, to participate in the consultation, which will close on 8 September 2019.

Source: EC, 28 June 2019

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

As natural disasters threaten the most vulnerable people in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, the EU is providing €7 million in humanitarian aid to increase the capacity of communities and authorities to prepare for and respond to disasters. This aid is in addition to the approximately €17 million in EU humanitarian assistance given this year to help people hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Comoros, and people affected by food shortages in Zimbabwe.
This EU humanitarian aid package will support:
  • improving the preparedness and response capacities of local civil protection staff and communities at risk of natural disasters. This includes the strengthening of early warning systems, awareness raising about risks, and the preparation of contingency plans;
  • using technology and innovative approaches in disaster preparedness – such drones and bulk mobile text messaging - to help communities to respond fast and avert the loss of life and property;
  • helping schools to continue delivering education when natural disasters strike. In such events, education servicesin the affected area can come to a halt and children can remain out of school for several months. To minimise this disruption, EU-funded actions include the promotion of safe learning facilities, the training of teachers in early warning, and informing children on how to stay safe.
Source : EC, 1 July 2019
Publication of latest agri-food trade figures: EU keeps strong on agri-food exports

The latest monthly agri-food trade report published today shows that the monthly value of EU agri-food exports in April 2019 reached €12.6 billion, 12.5% above the value registered one year ago in April 2018. Imports were valued at €10.3 billion - a 4% increase from April 2018, bringing the monthly agri-food trade surplus to €2.3 billion. Export values significantly increased for wheat, pig meat, spirits and liqueurs, and wine and vermouth. As for imports, monthly values went up for coarse grains, vegetables and vegetable oils. The United States remains the first destination for exports of EU agri-food products while also being the EU's first origin for imports. The monthly report provides a table presenting the trade balance, its development by product category and the main trading partners from May 2018 to April 2019.

Source:  EC, 28 June 2019
ACP statement to the G20 on eradicating Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
legal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in ACP coastal countries remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems, dependent communities and the society as a whole. It undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage fish stocks, destroys the food security of affected coastal countries and harms their economic interests.
Globally, about 20% of the annual catch valued at US $23 billion (€20,2 billion) comes from IUU fishing. A large percentage of this is known to come from developing countries with inadequate regulatory oversight and control measures. For ACP regions, estimates of the economic loss due to IUU fishing remain uncertain.
Not only is IUU fishing a challenge for ACP countries but indeed, a global problem that requires intensified actions by all actors following the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 14. The entry into force of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) in 2016, which has now been ratified by 33 of the 65 ACP coastal states, demonstrates the growing commitment by members of the ACP Group to make a united stand against IUU fishing by denying IUU operators access to ports in ACP countries.
Nevertheless, more and urgent actions are required to discourage and halt illegal fishing activities that undermine and violate established national, and regional fisheries conservation norms. Further to the 2017 Bahamas declaration of ACP Ministers in Charge of fisheries and aquaculture, the ACP Group therefore calls on the G20 to support capacity building initiatives to reinforce the effectiveness of surveillance and control programmes and reform national fisheries regulations to promote compliance to national and regional fishery management measures. 
The G20 is further invited to support actions that strengthen regional cooperation mechanisms in the fight against IUU fishing, in particular, to enhance the exchange of information and good practices, joint surveillance and control programmes.
Source: ACP, 28 June 2019

As the Horn of Africa region continues to be afflicted by severe and prolonged humanitarian crises, the EU announces a new aid package worth €110.5 million. Since 2018, the EU has provided humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa totalling €316.5 million. The EU funding is allocated across the following countries: Somalia (€36.5 million), Ethiopia (€31 million), Uganda (€28.5 million), Kenya (€13.5 million) and Djibouti (€1 million). EU-funded humanitarian efforts in the Horn of Africa support the most vulnerable people, including refugees, internally displaced people and host communities, providing them with food assistance, shelter, safe water, health and nutrition care, protection, and education for children caught up in humanitarian crises. The full press release is available here

Source: EC, 27 June 2019

Papua New Guinea, EU sign agreement

Minister for National Planning and National Authorising Officer (NAO), Hon Richard Maru, counter-signed the Financing Agreement of the EU 11th EDF Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade Project between the European Union and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (STREIT PNG).
As a country, this authorization now tallies up to a national commitment of €115.3 Million out of €154.0 Million earmarked for PNG under the 11th EDF. This translates to 75% commitment of the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) is now secured and under implementation. The rest will be committed before the end of 2020.

Source: Papua New Guinea Today, 24 June 2019

Biopama launches the first call for proposals for medium grants

On 24 June 2019, BIOPAMA launched the first call for proposals for medium grants (up to € 400 000) in the frame of its "Action component", which provides funding opportunities to address protected and conserved areas, sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resource priorities for actions on the ground in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).By adopting a landscape approach, these actions will also contribute to enhancing local livelihoods through sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystem services as well as increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Interested organisations can apply until 21 September 2019 at 23:59 (CET/Brussels date and time). BIOPAMA is an initiative of the ACP Group of States financed by the joint ACP-European Union (EU) 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

Source: ACP, 26 June 2019

Key resources

IFDC annual report 2018

The annual report features the Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project, which empowered farmers with technical know-how centered around quality seed delivery, improving soil fertility, and employing good water management practices. The Resilient Efficient Agribusiness Chains (REACH-Uganda) project is featured. REACH is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda and works to build resilient market systems and farm households with a focus on rice and potato value chains.

STDF Annual Report

The STDF Annual Report for 2018 highlights how investing in safe trade matters more than ever for developing countries and in particular for least developed countries. In 2018, the STDF received record numbers of applications for support, together with increasing donor pledges, and was also able to reach more SPS stakeholders worldwide. Across the year, the STDF SPS knowledge platform and resources, global dialogue and partnerships, innovative projects, studies and proposals all generated significant results. Against a global backdrop of economic and climate change pressures that put livelihoods at risk, STDF support to farmers, processors, traders, exporters and governments to meet international standards is driving safe, inclusive trade and development outcomes. In line with the STDF vision of sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, food security and environmental protection in developing countries, this publication reports on STDF’s current work to champion the UN Sustainable Development Goals to 2030. The four sections of the Annual Report cover Goal 2 on zero hunger, Goals 3 and 12 on good health and well-being, and responsible consumption and production, Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, as well as Goal 17 on partnerships for the goals. A special opening feature looks at how STDF’s work is continuing to promote cross-cutting Global Goals, including Goal 1 on no poverty, Goal 5 on gender equality, Goal 10 on reduced inequalities, and Goals 14 and 15 on life below water and life on land. For over 15 years, the STDF global partnership has worked at national, regional and international level on the most pressing SPS challenges that developing countries face to trade safely. This 2018 Annual Report sets out the key results from across STDF’s work, and the opportunities that exist to drive greater sustainable impact in the period ahead.


WorldFish Annual Report 2018: transforming food systems through fish

WorldFish provides rigourous scientific evidence to all stakeholders, including the private sector, and multi-stakeholder partnerships are at the core of its work. In this annual report, WorldFish considers that it has a "unique ability to convene and broker novel partnerships" with the private secotr and other development actors to scale innovations and impact.During 2018, WorldFish developed 86 new multistakeholder partnerships with 179 active partnerships in total. In addition, the number of private sector partners rose from nine in 2017 to 32 in 2018. Closer links with the private sector include an agreement with the global aquafeed manufacturer, Skretting, which is laying the foundations for a long-term research program that can link favorable traits in tilapia to Skretting feed formulations, starting in Egypt and Zambia. WorldFish considers that this partnership has the potential to increase the profitability of African small-scale fish farmers.



Foreign Affairs Council
15 July 2019
European Commission
Brussels, Belgium
Launch of The State of Food Security & Nutrition in the World (SOFI)
The event will launch The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, presenting the latest estimates for food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition at global and regional levels.The event is co-organized by FAO, IFAD, WFP, WHO and UNICEF.
Monday, 15 July 2019
10:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m
Brussels, Belgium
EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) – biennial report to the European Parliament and Council
16 July 2019
Charlemagne Building
Brussels, Belgium
European Research and Innovation Days
24-26 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
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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