BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, February 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – During his first ever visit to the country EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, announced €55 million of new support for Cape Verde during the period 2014 – 2020. The funding will focus specifically on the areas of the fight against poverty, sustainable and inclusive growth and good governance.
The Commissioner will take part in a seminar on renewable energy, during which he will announce the first deployment of the EU’s Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy for All in Cape Verde; a new instrument on energy cooperation which will cover the whole of Africa. The new facility will support the Cape Verdean authorities in identifying new and innovative project proposals in the energy sector. The European Union will provide the expertise (sharing best practice and providing training, for example) required to achieve Cape Verde’s ambitious energy target of providing 50% renewable energy in the electricity mix by 2020.
Commissioner Piebalgs said: “Renewable energy is something that I am strongly committed to. Energy in Cape Verde is crucial, for education and healthcare, for growth, tourism and even for the supply of water. In short, renewable energy is the country’s main route towards growth and development.
“Electricity prices in Cape Verde are sky high and the country has no fossil fuel resources. That’s why our new Technical Facility is so important – by providing expertise and innovative solutions it will help to utilise abundant renewable resources such as wind and sun to give people on all of Cape Verde’s islands reliable and cost-effective access to electricity and modern energy services through renewable energy.”
The Commissioner will visit the Cabeolica Wind farm project, which was the first large-scale wind project in Africa and has already achieved impressive results; increasing the country’s share of renewable energy to 25 per cent in one go. The project is the first renewable energy public/private partnership in sub-Saharan Africa, and it shows how partnerships with development banks working together with the private sector, present a business model that could be successfully replicated in many other countries.
Commissioner Piebalgs will meet with President Jorge Carlos Fonseca and Prime Minister José Maria Neves during his visit, as well as other high level ministers and representatives from civil society groups.
EU’s ongoing support to the country
The EU provided €51m to Cape Verde between 2008 -2013 through the European Development Fund (EDF). As a result of the mid-term review, additional funds (€10.2 million) were also made available.
As a continuation of the EU’s general budget support to the Cape Verde and the on-going budget support programme (entitled Good Governance and Development Contract or GGDC), new contracts will also be put in place between the EU and Cape Verde. It will continue to support Cape Verde’s development strategy and the EU-Cape Verde Special Partnership. This shows the importance that the EU attaches to its relations with Cape Verde
New support to the EU Cape Verde Special Partnership (which enhances EU cooperation with the country in areas of mutual interest, such as security and stability, as well as the harmonisation of technology and standards, to bring them in line with the EU) is also foreseen.
Cape Verde is on track to achieving nearly all of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The country’s main challenge is eradicating poverty (26.6% of population currently live in poverty and promoting economic growth, as well as reducing public deficit and debt.
The EU Cape Verde Special Partnership agreed by the two partners, aims to boost cooperation on areas such as good governance, security and stability, as well as regional integration, and the fight against poverty. The EU is Cape Verde’s main trading partner.
The European Commission has been supporting the goal of Sustainable Energy for All (and the UN’s SE4ALL initiative) from day one and in 2012 committed to help developing countries provide 500 million people with access to sustainable energy services by 2030.