EU to help developing countries, but without fresh funds
To help developing countries weather the economic crisis, the European Commission presented a number of measures, essentially prepayments, but which will only be a stopgap solution if the member States fail to keep their promises to increase public development assistance (PDA) by 2010.
To take immediate action, the Commission will anticipate its aid payments in the total amount of €4.3 billion in 2009, i.e. 21% of the European Development Fund 2008-2013 for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. This sum includes €3 billion as budget support and €800 million (of €1 billion) under the food facility adopted in December to help farmers from poor countries. The remaining €500 million will finance social safety spending in the most vulnerable countries. In addition, to support economic activity, the EU executive will double its contribution to the Infrastructure Trust Fund for Africa, adding €200 million more in 2009 and 2010. This money should provide leverage for the implementation of 2.5€ billion in low-interest loans for infrastructure development (transport, water, energy and telecommunication).