EU and African Leaders during the European Union – Africa Summit
The European Union and African leaders have signed an agreement for the creation of an Emergency Trust Fund, initially of $1.9 billion, to assist Africa to take back nationals who migrated to Europe.
The fund, unveiled on Thursday at a summit with African leaders in Malta, currently consists largely of $1.9bn put up by the European Commission, the EU executive, from the bloc’s central budget.
The Commission wants member states to match that, but few have pledged much so far.
Speaking at the summit, Senegal President Macky Sall, who is also the chair of the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) said, “The money that the EU is pledging is not enough for the whole of Africa. We would like to see it more generously financed.”
African countries were reluctant to take up the offer as the deal would sharply reduce remittance income from immigrants in Europe.
Reports show that African nations receive more than $32 billion annually in remittances, most of it from migrants.
Many sub-Saharan Africa economies depend on remittances to bolster their sovereign credit ratings, which helps them lower their borrowing costs and lengthen their debt maturity.
The new money, which adds to some $21bn annually donated to Africa by the EU and its 28 states, will finance projects ranging from training and small-business grants and combating food shortages to schemes directly aimed at cutting emigration and tackling radicalization and other violence.