European Union (EU) Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica , will begin Tuesday a two day visit to Khartoum to formally announce a €100 million aid package to Sudan.
EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica (EU Photo)
The Sudanese foreign ministry and the EU office in Khartoum announced the visit in separate statements on Monday, pointing that Mimica will inform the Sudanese government officially of the European support which aims to reduce poverty, supporting the creation of jobs and improving the delivery of basic services in peripheral and conflict-affected areas.
Sudan has been under EU sanctions since the 1989 coup d’état and didn’t receive any development aid from Europe. However, Brussels continues to provide humanitarian aid and also supports the funding of Darfur joint peacekeeping force.
However, the European body reconsidered its position following the weaves of illegal migrants from Syria, Iraq, and Horn of Africa countries. Sudan is identified as a source of migrants to Europe and a transit country for migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.
’’Our new support of €100 million will essentially focus on improving the living conditions for those who call Sudan home, helping returnees to the country to reintegrate back into society, and improving security at the border,” Minica said in a statement released before his arrival.
“Mimica’s visit aims to pave the way for the identification of concrete priorities and actions” that will include improving the living conditions of refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their host communities, said the EU office in Khartoum.
The European support also will be used to enhance border controls, the fight and prevention of human trafficking and smuggling.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ambassador Ali al-Sadiq said the visiting EU official will meet the Sudanese First Vice President, interior and international cooperation ministers and the deputy foreign ministry.
“This visit comes as a result of the visit of Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour to the EU headquarters last February,” al-Sadiq said, adding “it has opened up new avenues of cooperation between Sudan and the European Union”.
Last February Ghandour was in Brussels on an invitation from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
The two officials discussed the implementation of Valletta Action Plan adopted in November 2015 which aims to support Sudan other African countries within the framework of Khartoum process to promote development and eradicate poverty.
The €100 million aid package will be implemented under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. This Trust Fund was set up last year to tackle instability and the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement.
In addition to this support, Sudan benefits from additional funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular from a €40 million programme to better manage migration in the region.