CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
August 2019 - No. 617


European Commission appoints new Director-General to its department for International Cooperation and Development, reinforces top management across other departments

The European Commission has today decided to appoint Mr Koen Doens to the position of Director-General in its department for international cooperation and development (DG DEVCO), in view of Mr Stefano Manservisi's retirement on 1 October 2019.
The Commission has also decided to appoint three Deputy Directors-General: Mr Declan Costello to its department for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), Mr Michael Köhler to its department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) and Mr Gallo Gueye to its department for Statistics (DG Eurostat).
Mr Koen Doens, a Belgian national, has served as a Deputy Director-General in DG DEVCO since 2018. Mr Doens brings 15 years of experience in the European Commission and over ten years of diplomatic experience working for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for two Belgian Ministers in charge of foreign affairs and trade. Having joined the European Commission in 2004, Mr Doens worked in the private offices of three Commissioners and headed the Commission's Spokesperson's Service under former President Barroso (2009-2014). He joined DG DEVCO – going back to a policy area to which he had dedicated most of his career – in 2014 to the position of Director for European Union-African Union Relations, East and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean.
Mr Declan Costello, an Irish national, joined the European Commission in 1991. His career has been entirely focused on economic and fiscal policies. During the 1990s, he was actively involved in the preparations to launch the euro, including the setting up of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). In the years of the economic crisis, he was involved – in several Head of Unit and acting Director roles - in efforts to devise an economic recovery strategy, as well as in the negotiations on enhanced economic governance arrangements for the Economic and Monetary Union. From 2014 to September 2015, he was Director for the economies of the Member States, covering nine Member States. At the same time, he was appointed the European Commission's Mission Chief for Greece for the Stability Support Programmes until the expiry of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programme in August 2018, following which he was responsible for post programme surveillance in Greece.

Read the full press release

Featured CTA partner

Caribbean Export

Caribbean Export is a regional export development and trade and investment promotion organisation of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM) currently executing the Regional Private Sector Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union  under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF)  Caribbean Export’s mission is to increase the competitiveness of Caribbean countries by providing quality export development and trade and investment promotion services through effective programme execution and strategic alliances.

The agro-processed food and natural ingredient sectors and the creative industries: keys to the Caribbean’s expansion in the European market
  • The value of Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) exports has shrunk by an estimated interannual rate of 1.6% in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
  • The slowdown in LAC foreign sales has been partially counteracted by buoyant exports from the Caribbean
  • The Caribbean Export Development Agency is committed to promoting the agro-processed food and natural ingredient sectors and the creative industries in Europe in order to fuel expansion
Following two years of uninterrupted growth, goods exports from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have fallen in the first months of 2019, due to a decline in the volume of exports as well as a drop in the prices of raw materials. The Caribbean countries – Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados and Suriname – together with Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica, are the only ones to record positive developments from January to March. However, the slowdown is marked and for this reason the countries in the region are making a concerted effort to foster their overseas commercial relationships in order to counter the drop in demand.

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the European Union and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ in short is holding the fourth CARIFORUM-EU business forum from the 26 to the 28 September 2019 in Frankfurt, with the aim of improving commercial relationships between fifteen (15) Caribbean countries (CARIFORUM) and Europe, and increasing awareness of the private sector of business opportunities in the European market. Caribbean Export has identified the agro-processed food and natural ingredient industries and the cultural and creative industries as the sectors with the highest potential for growth in Europe.

Rum and seasonings, the Caribbean’s booming products

The Caribbean is world-famous as the home of rum. Global rum exports have increased by 26.86% over the last three years to reach a value of 1.45 million euros, and the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are its major producers.In Europe, consumption in this market is led by Germany and Spain. In Spain, rum consumption makes up 14% of the spirits market,[2]and in 2018 over 68% of global imports of rum came from the European market.

“Over the last decade, the production of rum has diversified to include a wide range of flavours, including apple, pineapple, mango and passionfruit,” comments Damie Sinanan, Manager for Competitiveness and Export Promotion at Caribbean Export. “With these changing trends and increased demand, we hope to see a more diverse range of Caribbean rum available in the European market.”
In addition, there is a noticeable increase in imports of spices and seasonings from developing countries to Europe (97% of the total import volume). This owes to the healthy lifestyle trends, interest in new flavours and sustainability. In fact, the global spice market is forecast to grow by 5.1% from 2017 to 2021, according to Eurostat.

Natural ingredients, Caribbean treasure

Europe’s love for natural plant-based ingredients combined with the region’s efforts to promote sustainability is fueling the demand for natural products, in different industries such as the cosmetics market.The Caribbean has an abundance of naturally grown produce that can be used within the nutraceutical and natural cosmetics market. Coconuts for example can be used in a wide range of products including cosmetics and the FMI reports that the natural cosmetics market is projected to grow at 4.9% volume CAGR through 2027. In 2017, the European cosmetics market was valued at €77.6 billion, making Europe the largest cosmetics market in the world and natural cosmetics accounts for around 5% of total market. Among the European countries, Germany has the largest market for cosmetic products, valued at €13.6 billion, followed by France (€11.3 billion), the UK (€11.1 billion), Italy (€10.1billion) and Spain (€6.8 billion).

Another interesting segment isgluten-free foods & beverages. Approximately, Europe accounts for 25% of global gluten free product demand.“European consumers are increasingly concerned by their health and diet, which has a positive impact on the demand for naturally sourced products found in the Caribbean including those believed to have health benefits,” explains Sinanan.  Wheat based flour contains varying levels of the protein gluten which has gained significant notoriety over the past decade due to increasing prevalence of gluten related health complications and a general switch by consumers to more health-conscious options across the board. Furthermore, the gluten free market is expected to grow to the value of €29 billion by 2025.

Strategic Events

Dakar Pathways to Advance Circular Economy, Green Industries and Jobs in West Africa

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the European Commission, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Republic of Senegal, organized a High-Level Regional Conference on ‘Circular Economy, Green Industries and Jobs in West Africa’ in Dakar, Senegal, on 22 and 23 July 2019.
The participants of this High-level Regional Conference advanced pathways to develop circular economy and green industries in West African countries.
They reaffirmed commitment to the relevant international agreements such as the UN's 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda. They also recognized the need to make further progress with the implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa 2016-2025 and Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. In this context, they:

  • Acknowledged and drew encouragement from the increasing role that green industries are already playing in improving resource efficiency, while decreasing pollution, creating jobs, driving innovation, diversifying economies, and thus paving the way for the broader transition to a circular economy in the region and more globally;
  • Highlighted the fact that green industries and circular business are helping countries to achieve multiple objectives in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and attaining positive climate outcomes;
  • Expressed concern about the alarming and increasing levels of waste generation and the challenges it brings, but acknowledged the potential of waste as a resource ;
  • Emphasized the need to create enabling policy and financial frameworks and encourage innovation to facilitate the transition and reduce and even eliminate financial and other barriers that impede innovative, circular business practices and new business models for greening of MSMEs;
  • Stressed the importance of MSMEs in the development of green industrial sectors and the broader circular economy;
  • Recognized the need to raise awareness and promote new and sustainable production and consumption patterns through education at every level for a better future of our children, youth and societies;

Underlined the catalytic role of public-private partnerships and international cooperation in the areas of policy development, innovation, infrastructure, sustainable finance and industrial parks and economic zones in supporting green industries and overall transition to a circular economy.

Source: European Commission, 24 July 2019


Ebola: EU provides an additional €30 million to tackle outbreak in DRC

The EU is contributing a further €30 million in humanitarian funding for Ebola response in efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second deadliest Ebola outbreak on record has claimed so far more than 1,700 lives in a country already facing a dire humanitarian situation. Today's funding announcement brings total EU humanitarian aid to fight against Ebola to €47 million since 2018, when the current outbreak was declared.

The new EU funding will step up support for:

  • infection prevention and control measures,
  • working with local communities to foster their acceptance of the response, including contagion prevention measures, access to health care, and safe and dignified burials, and
  • support to Ebola survivors and their families.

Against the backdrop of a wider deteriorating humanitarian crisis, EU assistance will also address urgent humanitarian needs in Ebola-affected and high-risk areas by providing food, nutrition and access to health services and clean water. The Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo is taking place in a challenging security, political and societal context. Conflict, high population mobility, a frail health system, and community mistrust continue to hinder the Ebola response teams' efforts in the country.

> Read the full press release

Source: European Commission, 25 July 2019

EU agri-food exports continue growing at record pace

EU agri-food exports continue their strong start to the year, with the month of May breaking records. In total exports grew by €12.8 billion, 13.0% above the same period last year. This was accompanied by an increase in import, which rose to €10.7 billion - 6% above the level of May 2018. As a result, the monthly agri-food trade surplus stood at €2.1 billion up from €1.3 billion in May 2018. These are the main findings of the latest monthly trade report published by the European Commission.

Source: European Commission, 22 July 2019
Humanitarian Aid: EU announces €18.5 million additional package for Latin America and the Caribbean

As numerous natural disasters threaten vulnerable communities in the Latin American and Caribbean region, the European Commission has announced today new humanitarian funding of €18.5 million. This includes €15 million to support preparedness of local communities and institutions for natural disasters throughout the region: Central and South America, the Caribbean and Haiti. A further €2.5 million will support projects addressing violence, and €1 million for food assistance in Central America.  Funding will boost local capacities to respond to emergencies, implement Early Warning Systems, and increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Communities supported include vulnerable ethnic groups living in rural or urban areas and disaster management institutions. This brings total EU support to the region to €79.5 million in 2019.

More details are available in the press release here

Source: European Commission, 23 July 2019
EU contributes €36 million to make Ethiopia's economy grow greener

This EU contribution will help Ethiopia "grow greener" by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said "Environmental sustainability and climate action are critical to achieving Ethiopia’s ambitious growth and development objectives. The EU’s €36 million contribution will help two key sectors – forestry and industry – to become more sustainable and mitigate the consequences of climate change".
The bulk of the EU’s contribution, €33 million, will be channelled through the Ethiopian government. This budget support aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forestry and industry. An additional €3 million will enhance the country’s measurement, reporting and verification systems, making them compliant with Paris Agreement standards.
Forestry and industry are the fastest-growing sources of GHG emissions. Yet they also have the highest potential for cutting emissions. Ethiopia's deforestation is responsible for 37 % of the country's total (GHG) emissions. EU intervention in this sector will support the country in improving forest management and reducing deforestation. For industry, the focus of EU support will be on boosting energy efficiency, improving energy management and curbing fossil fuel use in cement manufacturing, as this sector will account for 18% of the country's GHG emissions by 2030, unless remedial measures are taken.

Source: European Commission, 23 July 2019
Africa-Europe Alliance: Transport Task Force presents recommendations to promote sustainable development and jobs

The Africa-Europe Alliance Transport and Connectivity Task Force will today bring together leading experts from the public and private sectors of both continents from the world of mobility and connectivity. They will conclude their joint work with a series of recommendations to promote sustainable development and jobs, especially in Africa.
This meeting, which was co-chaired by European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc and African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, is the culmination of work undertaken since the Task Force’s launch in January 2019. It brings together key recommendations in all three of the Task Force’s clusters: Infrastructure and Connectivity, Road Safety, and Air Transport.
Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: "The EU-Africa Transport Task Force is a clear sign of an increased focus on partnership between the African Union and the European Union. Our cooperation is in the first phase focused, in a form of concrete recommendations and clear action plans, on 3 priority clusters: connectivity with a trans Africa connectivity infrastructure, aviation with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), and road safety with a comprehensive system approach.  Cooperation based on a mutual respect and shared commitments is a solid foundation for long term partnership including exchange of good practices, investments and joined global engagement."
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: "Improving transport and connectivity is vital if Africa is to achieve its full potential. These recommendations will enable Africa to better harness the transport sector and use it as a key driver of economic integration, increased investment, and job creation. I thank all involved in producing the recommendations presented today. Our next job is to ensure these ideas are taken up and implemented, so that both African and European citizens can benefit."
Source: European Commission, 25 July 2019

Key resources

Obesity: EU research battles the bulge

Obesity has become one of the major public health challenges for both developed and developing nations, with some rather chilling statistics. Worldwide, 1.9 billion adults and 42 million children are overweight or obese. Within the EU itself, Eurostat estimated in 2014 that 51.6% of the EU’s population was overweight. One in three children in the EU is overweight.
In the ResearchEU Magazine, you’ll read about eight EU-funded projects that have taken on obesity and have contributed significantly to our fundamental understanding of the condition, as well as provided possible solutions that can help us confront this growing public health crisis. Projects such as Child-MHO, EASY and NeuroEE have made exciting breakthroughs in the lab, showing how the role of genetics and metabolism can have a direct impact on a person’s weight. Meanwhile, the ERC-funded i2MOVE project is developing a new generation of neural interfaces to provide innovative treatments for people who are overweight or obese. From a sociological point-of-view, the OBESCLAIM project has studied the role of nutritional labelling on food products in the fight against obesity. Finally, the INNOPREFAT project, from an innovative Spanish SME, has utilised an intriguing combination of lemon verbena and hibiscus to develop an innovative product that has proven to help people lose weight.

Source: European Commission, CORDIS, July 2019

Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators

The world is off-track to meet most of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets linked to hunger, food security and nutrition, according to a FAO report.
The report puts forward a number of recommendations aimed at reversing these worsening trends.
  1. First, many of the problems mentioned above would probably be less acute if there was sufficient investment in the agricultural sector (including fishery and forestry). However, the report finds that public expenditure in agriculture has been declining with respect to its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In particular, the Sub-Saharan African region and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) registered the lowest relative values of public investment in agriculture.
  2. Promoting productivity growth and strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of small-scale food producers is also critical to reversing the trend of rising hunger and reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty, the report stresses.
  3. Price anomalies contributed to undermining people's access to food and nutritional status in many developing countries. These could be addressed by improving information on prices and on food supply and demand of basic food stuffs, allowing markets to function more efficiently.
  4. Improvements in water productivity and irrigation in agriculture and reduced losses in municipal distribution networks, industrial and energy cooling processes are among the main issues to be tackled when it comes to water stress.
  5. Finally, all countries need to urgently implement transformational changes in fishery management and governance. This would also have a positive economic impact: overall, rebuilding overfished stocks could increase annual fishery production by 16.5 million tonnes and annual revenues from fishing by $32 billion.



Brussels Development Briefing n. 57: “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition”
11 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
2019 African Diaspora Agro Food Forum
13-14 September 2019
Meise Botanical Gardens, Belgium
Registration link
European Research and Innovation Days
24-26 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Trade Expo
26 Sep - 28 Sep 2019
Union Halle Frankfurt, Germany
Click here for more info
European Week of Regions and Cities
More than six thousand people from all over Europe are expected to join the European Regions and Cities, this year under the headline "Regions and Cities: Pillars of the EU's Future".
7-10 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium
Registration Info
Food 2030: Nourishing people and nurturing the planet through sustainable health diets for all
Event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
16 October 2019
From 13:00
Brussels, Belgium

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

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Mariana Lemos (
Contributor: Félix Ajong (
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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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