Cover Image
close this bookThe Courier N 122 July - August 1990 - Dossier Tourism - Country Report: Mali (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)
close this folderNews round-up
close this folderThe Convention at work
View the documentACP National Authorising Officers meet for the second time
View the documentEDF financing
View the documentVisits

Visits

Cape Verdean Prime Minister Pedro Peres in Brussels

Pedro Peres, Cape Verde’s PM, met Commission Vice - President Manuel Marin, who is responsible for Development and Fisheries, on 23 April.

The Brussels visit, during which the Prime Minister was accompanied by Adao da Silva Rocha, Minister of Industry and Mining, was the opportunity to discuss three subjects of special mutual interest - bilateral relations between the EEC and Cape Verde, regional cooperation and Cape Verde’s eligibility for the LomV structural adjustment allocation.

EEC - Cape Verde relations

Mr Marin and Mr Peres said they were pleased with the way things were at the moment. Both parties thought that the prospects of speeding up implementation of the LomII national indicative programme and renewing the multiannual food aid agreement between the EEC and Cape Verde (concluded for a two - year period on 15 May 1987 and due for examination by the Food Aid Committee this May) were good.

The Cape Verdean Delegation also gave its views on the LomV indicative programme for which it will be receiving ECU 27 million (the LomII figure was ECU 23 million). The schemes this time will probably focus on urban development in Praia, the capital, as they did under the previous Convention.

Regional cooperation

The Delegation mentioned the country’s particular regional cooperation problems and prospects under LomV.

Cape Verde, an island, has relations with its neighbours in the Sahel and with other Portuguese - speaking countries of Africa and it would like the LomV regional programme to bear this in mind. The Prime Minister also mentioned the possibility of taking part in regional programmes which would provide support for his country’s present policy of economic opening.

Eligibility for structural adjustment arrangements

The Cape Verdeans told Manuel Marin of the Government’s economic policy plans, two of the most important aspects of which were greater opening onto the international economy and the reorganisation of some sectors.

Mr Marin made it clear that, once the Cape Verdean authorities had finalised their economic projects, they would discuss jointly how far these met the criteria which the Convention lays down for eligibility for structural adjustment. Cape Verde is in fact not automatically entitled to this assistance as it is not currently running any structural adjustment measures, but it could become eligible if it embarked upon a programme of reform which was recognised and backed by the main multilateral funders or if it demonstrated that it complied with the criteria (on levels of indebtedness, repayment problems, the monetary and budgetary situation, unemployment, etc.) mentioned in Article 246 of LomV.

Gabonese Prime Minister visits the Commission

Casimir Oyba, Prime Minister and Head of the Gabonese Government, visited Brussels at the head of a large delegation which included the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Planning, Mining, Hydrocarbons and Agriculture and the Minister delegated to the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Decentralisation. On 11 June, the Prime Minister told a press conference that his mission was one of “ friendship, explanation and information”. Mr Oyba’s Government was formed in a sensitive political context after the national conference - “ a very big moment in the political life of Gabon and what the President wanted” and it is in office on a transitional basis pending the legislative elections.

“All members of Gabonese society had the opportunity to say what they thought” for a month and their requests were put to the President, who granted many of them - the constitution of a new Government (formed on 29 April 1990) with a range of political colours, for example, the adoption of a “ basic charter of freedoms”, the setting up of a commission to prepare the future Constitution, the launching of a campaign to bring order to the national economy and a drive to rationalise public finances.

The Prime Minister placed particular emphasis on the effort they were making to reform the public sector. This was something they were tackling “ in depth, pragmatically and without being dogmatic” and, since the population’s needs had to be met “at a reasonable cost”, it might well go as far as the liquidation or privatisation of some public firms which were “a permanent drain on the State Budget”. The results would be apparent in the long term.

The rationalisation of public finances, currently running an “ intolerable” deficit, was being sought through “ a cut in State spending “ (reducing staff costs and reorganising the institutions), an increase in State revenue (particularly from oil and customs) and an attempt to handle the problem of debt - for which, Mr Oyba said, there should be special solutions for countries like his. “We want to pay our debts, but we can’t pay them all”, and so the creditors should make a gesture, he maintained, remembering that Gabon, too, “ has something to offer... and that it is in no one’s interest to see it go down “.

The Gabonese Delegation, which came from Paris to visit the Belgian authorities and the Commission of the European Communities in Brussels, then travelled to Luxembourg.

When the Prime Minister met Manuel Marin and presented his Government’s economic and political programme, the Commissioner congratulated him on progress with the political and economic democratisation process, but stressed the importance that the Commission and the whole Community attached to human rights.

Ethiopian Deputy PM visits Brussels

Wollie Chekol, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, visited Brussels on 7 May on his tour of Europe and America to tell the various cooperation partners about his country’s recent reforms. In March, the Government passed a number of resolutions, in particular bringing in a programme of economic reform and an overhaul of both the party and the political structure of the nation - the latter to make for coherence with the economic changes.

The main aim of the programme is to promote a mixed economy, using the machinery of the market, encourage the private sector, make public management more competitive and profitable, form cooperatives on a strictly voluntary basis and decentralise economic decision - making.

The appropriate steps have been taken to do this, in particular by abolishing ceilings on private investment, introducing a large number of tax and customs incentives (such things as repatriation of dividends and income tax exemption for foreign investors who plough their profits back into the country), preparing for membership of MIGA (the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency) and making it possible for foreign investors to have majority holdings in Ethiopian firms.

The Deputy Prime Minister thought that the assets of the Ethiopian economy (relatively well - developed infrastructure, a good standard of financial services, human resources etc.) were such that the reforms he had described would make for rapid progress in the ‘90s provided the international community backed up the national effort, particularly when it came to structural adjustment, financial and technical cooperation and private investments.

This is why the Ethiopian mission was not just to visit representatives of the authorities of the countries on its tour, but businessmen as well.

Salim Ahmed Saim,
OAU Secretary - General, on tour

The Secretary - General of the OAU visited Brussels in June as part of a tour he made to establish contact and “get a better idea” of the methods the Community used in its work and cooperation with the ACP States. This was an opportunity for Salim Ahmed Salim to talk to many people, including Ghebray Berhane, Secretary - General of the ACP Group, officials of the Commission of the European Communities and representatives of the Belgian authorities.

At a press conference in ACP House, Mr Salim said he thought that human rights, and political ones especially, were not just the concern of Europe, but of Africa as well. But he rejected the idea of aid being tied to political conditions, because, he maintained, “ African States ought not have the feeling that they are undergoing external pressure” to be democratic in their own countries.

The Courier will be reporting on Mr Salim’s visit in greater detail in the next issue.

Mr Marin visits Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda

From 2 to 9 June, Vice - President Manuel Marin, Commissioner for Development and Fisheries, paid an official visit to Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Tanzania

Under the new LomV Convention signed by 68 ACP States and the 12 EC - Member States on 15 December 1989 and covering the period 1990 - 200O, Tanzania continues to be in the top group of recipient countries among the ACP States. Tanzania will receive a minimum of ECU 195 million (US$ 230 m) for the period 19901995, of which ECU 166 m in grants.

During his visit, Vice - President Marin held discussions with the President, Ali Hasasan Mwinyi, as well as the Second Vice - President, Idris Abdul Wakil, and several Ministers. The principal themes of discussions were the political prospects for Tanzania and the whole region, those of cooperation and development and the major objectives of Tanzania within the structural adjustment process. Mr Marin was duly impressed by the efforts of the government towards economic recovery and confirmed future EC - support for the transport sector, agriculture, with special emphasis on coffee, and for the social sector. He also stressed the importance of further measures and decisions to be taken and implemented by the Government in order to obtain optimum results from EC - investments.

During his visit, the Vice - President signed two financing agreements concerning blocktrains on TRC for landlocked countries and the construction of the Isaka - Bukome Road, a stretch mostly used for regional traffic to and from Rwanda and Burundi. He also visited two EC - financed projects in Zanzibar.

Kenya

The aim of this first official visit to Kenya was to discuss with the authorities the present state of implementation and future prospects of cooperation between the EEC and Kenya.

During his visit Mr Marin met President Daniel Arap Moi, Vice President and Minister of Finance, George Saitoti, Dr Z. Onyonka, Minister of Planning and National Development, as well as several Ministers and officials responsible for cooperation.

He confirmed that Europe’s commitment towards its ACP partners has not been modified by the efforts that are being deployed in view of the completion of the internal market in 1992, or by the possibilities of closer cooperation with Eastern European countries, following the changes presently occurring in these countries. Mr Marin stressed that although there is a real risk of growth in economic disparities, the effects of the EC’s internal market and the democratisation in Eastern Europe must not be viewed pessimistically: they constitute above all a challenge and an opportunity that ACP countries must not ignore. The signature of the fourth Lomonvention underlines the strength of Europe’s ties with the ACP countries.

During the meetings, the outlook for the Kenyan economy and for Kenya/EEC cooperation was reviewed. Vice - President Marin expressed his appreciation of the strong performance of the Kenyan economy in the past few years and for the determination of the government to implement a number of important reforms aimed at redressing some structural imbalances of the economy. He recalled the contribution that the EEC has made to the structural adjustment policy in Kenya, through a majors reform programme m the cereals sector and through balance of payments support in the form of an agricultural import programme. The prospects of further cooperation in this field were also examined.

For the period 1990 - 95, Kenya will be entitled to a minimum of ECU 140 million in programmable resources, entirely in the form of grants, to which an allocation will be added for structural adjustment. It will also be entitled to other EEC resources, such as STABEX, depending on the trends on the coffee market, food aid, co - financing with nongovernmental organisations, and loans by the European Investment Bank.

Uganda

Under the new LomV Convention, Uganda, like Tanzania, continues to be in the top group of recipient countries; it will be entitled to a minimum of ECU 160 million (US$ 190 million) for the period 1990 - 1995, out of which ECU 145 m is in grants and the balance in very soft loans.

During his visit, Vice - President Marin had discussions with President Yoweri Museveni and several Ministers and senior officials. The principal themes of discussions were the political outlook for Uganda and the whole region, cooperation and development and the major objectives of Uganda’s adjustment efforts.

Mr Marin also pointed out the need for private initiatives and investments in order to ensure sustained economic and social growth.

During his visit, the Commission Vice - President announced the approval of a number of new projects and signed several financing agreements concerning additional wagons for Uganda Railways Corporation, microprojects for Northern and Eastern districts and a training programme for a total of ECU 9.5 m (US$ 11.5m). Mr Marin visited several EC - fnanced projects in Kampala and in the South - West.

ENVIRONMENT

Protection for forest ecosystems in Central Africa

Brazzaville was host to a ministerial forestry conference on 31 May and 1

June. The meeting was held on the initiative of the Congolese Government, with the collaboration and participation of the Commission of the European Communities, and it brought together Ministers responsible for forestry and conservation in seven countries of Central Africa - Cameroon, CAR, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomnd Principnd Za.

The main aim of the conference, which was preceded by a preparatory meeting, was to approve a request for financing from the Commission of the European Communities (about ECU 24 m over a period of three years) for a regional programme of conservation and rational utilisation of the forestry ecosystems of Central Africa.

The programme, designed with the provisions of LomII in mind, is completely in line with the new LomV guidelines on the protection of the environment and natural resources. It is also an integral part of the Central African regional plan for the protection of the tropical forests which the Ministers adopted at the conference.

The approach which the seven countries adopted and advertised during the conference is a model of regional cooperation - a Lombjective which the Commission has always kept to the fore.

And it is an avant - garde approach to protecting the tropical forests, too. As A.J. Fairclough (special adviser to Manuel Marin, who represented the EEC Commission at the conference), said in his opening speech, “ developing this forest is developing our region” and giving it something other parts of the world do not have - a positive and exemplary image of man being reconciled with his environment.

At the end of the conference, the Declaration of Brazzaville on the Conservation and Rational Utilisation of Forestry Ecosystems in Central Africa was adopted and made public.