EU proposes redirecting unused development aid to Africa to alleviate food crisis

BRUSSELS: The European one commission offered on Tuesday to pay back the unused funds originally earmarked for development projects in Africa to support African countries most exposed to the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
Millions of tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine, a crucial supplier to much poorer nations because the country’s ports are blocked due to the Russian invasion.
The Commission’s proposal, if approved by EU governments, will allow the payment of 600 million euros ($ 633 million) to increase support for countries most affected by the food emergency in Africa, The Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, the commission said in a statement.
The move, which confirms what Reuters first announced in May, is part of the EU’s efforts to win hearts and minds in Africa and reassure African partners that EU sanctions are not to blame for food shortages and high food prices. fertilizers.
EU leaders also need to help fertilizer production in Africa, according to the latest draft conclusions from their regular summit later this week.
They will push for initiatives “to support the development of production capacity in developing countries of raw materials, in particular sustainable fertilizers”, the draft text said.
It has been adjusted to remove implicit support for the production of chemical fertilizers, which may not be sustainable, following criticism from the Commission.
The EU largely directs development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries through European Development Fund (EDF), a mechanism funded directly by EU governments. Some of these funds usually go to support agriculture in poorer countries.
However, the resources involved are not always fully utilized. If not used, they are sent back to EU governments.
The EU has already provided emergency financial support to some of its most vulnerable neighbors.
In April, it announced € 225 million in aid to North Africa and Middle East.

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