EDF 2014-2020: Following the money

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Next week, several Pacific and Caribbean countries will sign their national indicative programs to receive European Union development funds for the period 2014-2020.

The agreements are scheduled to be finalized on Sept. 2 on the sidelines of the four-day United Nations conference on Small Island Developing States taking place in Apia, Samoa. There, development stakeholders will gather to discuss a wide range of issues, from climate change to building resilience against natural disasters, to which Pacific island states are particularly highly vulnerable.

EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will be in attendance at the conference, but the Commission has so far refrained from publishing a list of countries expected to finalize their agreements, due to possible last-minute changes. National indicative programs are only signed with authorized country representatives.

This is the second time Brussels is presented with an opportunity to finalize agreements with multiple countries at a single event. The last time was in June 2013, when 15 African countries and one South American country — Surinam — signed their respective indicative programs on the sidelines of the Joint Council of Ministers’ meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Below is a breakdown of the EU funding allocations for those African countries, along with their mutually agreed priorities for the next seven years.

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In line with its 2011 policy document “An Agenda for Change,” the EU aims to channel its resources where it can have the most impact. In its discussions with national governments and civil society groups, the Commission therefore opted to limit allocations to three priority sectors per country, except for special cases. In Gabon, for instance, the EU allocation is a relatively modest 13 million euros ($17.17 million), which Devex learned is largely due to the country’s recent transition to middle-income status. With this in mind, both sides agreed to channel funds only to vocational training.

For fragile states, meanwhile, the EU can extend its priorities to four key sectors. This is, for example, the case with Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will receive funding for health care (150 million euros), environment and sustainable agriculture (130 million euros), governance and rule of law (160 million euros) and rehabilitation of part of the country’s main highway (150 million euros). Public financial management will also be financed as a so-called cross-cutting issue.

Other countries that have finalized agreements are Haiti and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

Comparing the new deals with the preceding 2008-2013 period can be tricky, given that indicative programs are not set in stone and can change throughout the course of any given European Development Fund term. The newly signed programs, for instance, will undergo a midterm review, under which it will be determined whether the EU will increase or decrease its assistance or change its sectoral focus in any given country.

These allocations will all come from the EU’s 11th EDF, which has a total allocation of about 30.5 billion euros. The bulk of that funding will go to national and regional programs, but there will be a significant percentage funneled into other areas, such as loans disbursed via the European Investment Bank. The EU has other external financing instruments that some countries may also be eligible for, although these are more specific, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Development Cooperation Instrument.

Not all funding under the national indicative programs is coursed through the government as budget support, however, with part of the money instead channelled through other partners including civil society actors.

The timeline for each country varies, and the EU foresees the whole process to continue until at least the beginning of 2015. Following the Apia conference next week, though, Brussels is expected to sign agreements with Chad and Rwanda sometime in September.

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