EU development ministers to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa

EU development ministers to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa

The meeting of the EU development ministers on 29 September will be held as a video conference. Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will represent Finland at the meeting.

The topics to be discussed include the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Africa and the actions to be taken by the EU, and the negotiations on the Post-Cotonou Agreement concerning the relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley will also address the meeting.

The meeting will discuss how the Team Europe approach of the EU could be used to respond to the consequences of the pandemic in Africa both in the short and long term. There is the risk that African countries may plunge into economic recession, which would lead to increased poverty on the continent.

“Finland and the other Nordic countries have pointed out that the recovery measures must be climate friendly and sustainable – Building Back Better and Greener. In particular, Finland calls for investments that strengthen the opportunities of the young and resilience of communities with respect to both their economies and health. This is also what we keep stressing in the discussions within the EU,” Minister Skinnari says.

By last summer about EUR five billion in financial support from Team Europe had been directed to Sub-Saharan Africa. “If the Commission, Member States, European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development join their efforts, we will truly have the opportunity to reverse the trend. At the same time we will strengthen the EU’s position as an international player, which in the current situation would be particularly important,” Minister Skinnari says. 

The agenda of the meeting also includes a presentation by Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen on the ongoing negotiations on the Post-Cotonou Agreement concerning the relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In addition, the meeting will discuss means to target EU development cooperation to the Republic of Belarus.

Inquiries:
Kirsi Airio, Special Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, tel. +358 50 574 1729
Katja Ahlfors, Director of the Unit for Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 191

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]