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Commissioner Piebalgs visits three West-African countries to discuss future development co-operation

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medium_Andris-Piebalgs-13Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs (pictured) will begin on Monday (10 February) a high-level visit to Mauritania, Senegal and the Cape Verde, where he will underline the EU’s ongoing commitment to supporting the region and confirm future funding for the three countries.

The visit will be the Commissioner’s first ever to Senegal and Cape Verde, and first high level visit since 2008 to Mauritania. He will meet Heads of states, ministers and representatives of civil society of the three countries, and discuss future priorities and ongoing areas of cooperation, notably to implement EU's development blueprint known as the 'Agenda for Change', as well as regional issues of common interest and the post-2015 agenda (when the current Millennium Development Goals are due to expire).

Speaking ahead of the visit, Piebalgs said: "I am happy to see how the Agenda for Change is contributing to the support of inclusive and sustainable growth in the region, notably through sustainable agriculture and energy."

"During my visit I’ll be looking at new ways that the EU and Africa can cooperate there going forward – in energy, in the private sector and in infrastructure, for example, we’re committed to looking at innovative ways of working which can benefit people as much as possible by boosting growth, jobs and investment," he added.

These are the main subjects which will be discussed in each country:

  • In Mauritania, the Commissioner will discuss future cooperation in the areas of food security, rule of law and health. He will also highlight the key role that the country plays in the security of the Sahel.
  • In Senegal, the country's development priorities, mainly agriculture and food security, sanitation and energy, will be discussed. The Commissioner will welcome the positive role of Senegal in regional economic integration and in increasing stability in the region.
  • In the Cape Verde, Commissioner Piebalgs will visit a renewable energy project, which is one of the largest wind farms in Africa, and launch a reinforced cooperation programme with the country.

The commissioner recently announced €6.4 billion for 16 countries in the region of West Africa1 (subject to confirmation by member states) between 2014-2020, which is expected to support investments that generate growth and job creation for the 300 million citizens of West Africa.

Background

The Commission’s high-level visit will be a key opportunity for the Commissioner to meet African leaders ahead of the 4th Africa-EU Summit, which will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014. Mauritania has the presidency of the AU in 2014 and will co-preside over the events of the EU-Africa Summit. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is also one of the ten members of the High Level Committee on the post 2015 process.

The Brussels summit, after those held in Cairo, Lisbon and Tripoli, will have the theme 'Investing in People, Prosperity and Peaceà. The summit is expected to mark a further significant step forward for the partnership between the EU and Africa in all three areas identified.

The region of West Africa1 includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania.

More information

IP/13/1002: EU confirms its support for West Africa's development and integration (previous press release on funding to West Africa)

Website of EuropeAid Development and Co-operation DG

Website of Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs

Africa

EU and Germany join efforts to support the African Union's response to #Coronavirus

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The EU continues to work with member states to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on all fronts. Today, 500.000 additional coronavirus testing kits have been provided to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The test kits were delivered by an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight and are part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union (AU) by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In total, almost 1.4 million tests for the extraction and the detection of the virus will be made available to African Union countries. 

“Through the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, the European Commission continues to work hand in hand with Member States to support vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It is in our common interest to tackle the pandemic worldwide. We are committed to ensuring effective delivery of essential medical equipment to the countries that need it the most. This specific consignment will be able to reach a large number of countries as it will support the African Union continental response,” said Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič.

The kits delivery is part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus. Federal Republic of Germany Development Co-operation Minister Gerd Müller said on the occasion: “We will either beat the coronavirus together worldwide – or not at all. This is why we support the African Union through the German Epidemic Preparedness Team in co-operation with the EU. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention co-ordinate the procurement of life-saving testing equipment for AU member states. They also play an important role in educating African health workers. With our support to the partnership to accelerate coronavirus testing, we make sure that testing is made widely available. We stand by our friends in Africa in the fight against the coronavirus.”

The full press release is available online.

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Founder of leading pan-African communications consultancy APO Group to help select Jack Ma Foundation’s Top 10 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition

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The Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has chosen APO Group Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard as a semi-final judge for this year’s prestigious competition “Africa’s Business Heroes”.

The ANPI organizes Africa’s Business Heroes - now in its second year – a grassroots competition looking to spotlight and give a platform to entrepreneurs all over Africa, to showcase their business ideas and inspire others to do so.

The Jack Ma Foundation is committed to fostering African entrepreneurship, and has brought in some of the continent’s most esteemed business people and investors to help the search for Africa’s Business Heroes. Nicolas will be part of a select seven-judge panel who will interview candidates from a semi-final shortlist of 20 entrepreneurs based all over Africa.

In earlier qualification rounds, more than 150 prominent African business leaders acted as initial judges to whittle down more than 20,000 applicants to the final 50.

In the online semi-final, held on 28 and 29 August 2020, Nicolas will help to identify the ten finalists who will go forward to compete in a ‘pitch finale’ in front of Jack Ma himself, among others.

Nicolas has spent more than a decade at the forefront of African business. In 2007, he founded APO Group from his own living room using his own savings, and he has seen it grow into the leading pan-African communications and business consultancy, providing strategic advice to multinational organizations in diverse industries.

Now, in his role as Chairman of APO Group, Nicolas has committed to supporting the next generation of African entrepreneurs. In 2019, he embarked upon a series of conferences in some of Africa’s most prominent universities. He spoke about entrepreneurship, business and journalism to students in Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

Nicolas is also a member of several Advisory Boards, including: the African Energy Chamber, an organization that drives collaboration between African governments and the private sector in all areas of the energy industry; the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, the premier hotel investment conference in Africa; and the EurAfrican Forum, an action-oriented platform that aims to foster stronger collaboration between Europe and Africa.

The ANPI prize launched last year, and the competition in 2020 is even bigger and better. The prize fund has increased from $1 million to $1.5m, with each of the ten finalists receiving a share of it. The value of the Prize goes far beyond mere financial gain, and represents an extraordinary platform where all participants, and not just the winners, have benefited from expertise and insights garnered within the ANPI community of business leaders.

More than 22,000 applicants representing all 54 African countries applied for the chance to be the next African Business Hero - more than double the number of entries in 2019.

In another change from last year, applicants were also able to submit their applications and hold selection interviews in French, a further proof of the inclusive and pan-African spirit of the initiative. As a self-made Franco-Gabonese entrepreneur, Nicolas is well placed to help identify the very best of Francophone African start-ups and innovators.

“Jack Ma is at the very pinnacle of global entrepreneurship, so it is an honour to have been asked to judge this year’s semi-final of the ANPI competition,” said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman of APO Group. “It is fantastic to see the Jack Ma Foundation investing so much energy into African entrepreneurship, and I am delighted to see such a high level of talent from this year’s applicants as we get ready to crown the next African Business Heroes.”

Find out more about the ANPI competition and view the full list of semi-finalists here.

View multimedia content.

 

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New details released about the change of head of the Russian 'Wagner' group

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A recent journalistic investigation by Bellingcat reports about the change of the head of the Wagner Private Military Group. This joint investigation by The Insider, Bellingcat and Der Spiegel notes that the new head of the group may be Konstantin Pikalov, better known as 'Mazay', writes Louis Auge.

According to media reports, Mazay participated in the campaign of the group in the Central African Republic (CAR) in early July 2018. From the context of correspondence extracted by journalists of the publication, which concerns his activities in Africa, it becomes clear how influential Mazay is - it is reported that the military adviser to the Central African President personally followed his recommendations.

The media suggest that he was the one who co-ordinated the information and ideological work with the team in the Central African Republic.

Documents obtained by Bellingcat in electronic correspondence show that if Valery Zakharov was formally a military advisor to the CAR President, then Mazay was responsible for important military issues.

For example, one email contains a scanned letter from the local provisional authorities in the town of Bambari to the Commander of the Russian Armed Forces in the Republic of South Africa.

The letter (dated 13 May 2019) requested an urgent and private meeting to "discuss a particularly delicate situation in the town of Bambari". The letters mention that the Russian military command has sent instructions to Mazay for further action.

The change of the Wagner leadership, according to some experts, may be associated with a change in the format of group.

Dmitry Utkin, who previously headed the company and was responsible for the Ukrainian and Syrian fronts, may have left the group due to changes in the methodology and vector of work.

The private military company has moved from direct participation in military operations to the strategy of military and political training and interaction. According to sources, instead of participating in hostilities, the Wagner group is currently providing consulting and training support in a number of geopolitical hot spots in African countries, including Libya.

The change of the head of the company may be explained by a change in the regional orientation of the company as well. It means increased attention by the group to the African region, in this configuration the change of manager seems reasonable.

Based on an analysis of the information revealed this investigation, one can also draw a possible conclusion that Dmitry Utkin, who led the private military company for a long time, may now have been be killed. At present, his phone number is not functioning, and his regular trips from Krasnodar to St. Petersburg have stopped.

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