BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs is to announce tomorrow that EU support for Benin in 2014-2020 will amount to almost €450 million. This announcement will be made during his visit to Benin on 4 and 5 September 2014.
In addition to continuing to support the governance sector, the EU is to provide aid for the agricultural and energy sectors. Aid for the energy sector will focus on improving the population’s access to energy, promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency.
The visit will confirm the EU’s commitment to helping Benin in its development process. It will also provide an opportunity for an exchange of views between Commissioner Piebalgs and the Benin authorities on economic and development issues, the results achieved and the outlook for future cooperation between the EU and Benin.
Prior to his arrival in Benin, Commissioner Piebalgs declared, ‘Our historic commitment to Benin is to be renewed and consolidated because we have taken note of the efforts the country has made to combat poverty. I applaud the commitment of the authorities to achieving the Millennium Development Goals’.
‘We appreciate the scale of the challenges involved in improving living standards in Benin against a background of population growth, and we want to support the ambitious policy of the national authorities by targeting our aid on key sectors for the population, such as good governance, access to energy and the development of more sustainable agriculture.’
During Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit, the EU and Benin will also sign four financing agreements for a total of €47 million (31 billion CFA francs). These concern the Economic Governance Support Project (€5 million), the ‘Easier Access to Drinking Water for All’ Water Sector Support Project (€19 million), the Justice Support Programme (€8 million) and the Benin/Niger Transport Programme (€15 million).
In the course of his visit to Benin, Commissioner Piebalgs will hold talks with President Boni Yayi. He will reaffirm the existing partnership between Benin and the EU and, in particular, express support for reforms to place the public finances on a sounder footing.
Commissioner Piebalgs will visit the Port of Cotonou with President Boni Yayi. He will also attend a working meeting at the offices of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), which is part-funded by the EU.
Description of the four Financing Agreements that the EU and Benin will sign during Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit:
The ‘Easier Access to Drinking Water for All’ Water Sector Support Project (€19 million) is designed to significantly increase access to drinking water and to raise hygiene standards in rural areas. In the light of developments in drinking water coverage, there are still reasons to hope that Benin will achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the area of drinking water provision by 2015. The EU is pleased that the project will help to achieve this goal by supplying drinking water to almost 500 000 people.
The Economic Governance Support Project (€5 million) will help to make the management and information system for public finances, human resources and statistics more efficient.
The Benin/Niger Transport Programme (€15 million) will enable the Government of Benin to conduct additional studies (market study, logistical study, sectoral study) and will provide technical assistance to all the public and semi-public operators in the logistics chain.
Lastly, the Justice Support Programme (€8 million) is designed to:
1) support improvements to administration, coordination and planning of justice at the central level of the Ministry of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights;
2) enable provision of a high-quality service to individuals by the courts and the Ministry’s decentralised departments;
3) promote respect for human rights in prisons and the setting-up of social and vocational rehabilitation for prisoners, particularly minors in conflict with the law.