European Commission: EU Aid for Trade – Progress Report 2018

The objective of the updated EU Aid For Trade (AfT) strategy of 2017 is to better align EU Aid For Trade interventions with actual market-driven opportunities and constraints, to ensure a better quantitative focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and to increase the contribution of Aid For Trade to sustainable development goals while supporting a stronger participation of women in the economy. This is to be achieved through a more coherent mobilisation of the various policy instruments at the EU’s disposal regarding aid, trade and investment with a view to leveraging and maximising impact.

The present report is the first under the new AfT strategy. It is based on qualitative information conveyed jointly by EU Delegations and Member States missions in developing countries, as well as statistical analysis of data extracted from the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System. The report is a first attempt to respond to the strategy requirement of a more qualitative and results-oriented reporting, also highlighting sustainability and gender dimensions.

Compared to the previous year, 2016, EU AfT commitments increased by 2.7% to reach EUR 13.5 billion, setting a new all-time high. The EU has remained the lead AfT donor, with 32% of global Aid For Trade. Africa continued to receive the largest share of EU AfT in 2016, with 42% of the total (excluding ODA EIB loans), followed by Asia (22%), America (12%) and Europe (11%). AfT commitments to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) amounted to EUR 3 billion, an all-time high, representing 22% of EU AfT – to put in perspective with an average 18% between 2010 and 2015, and the “vision” to achieve at least one fourth of total EU AfT by 2030.

Overall, the first progress report under the updated EU AfT Strategy reflects the increased prominence of AfT in the development policies of the EU and its Member States, and the prioritisation of a stronger coherence between development, trade and investment instruments in order to improve the impact on the economy, job creation and sustainability. In Africa, the EU AfT is expected to play a crucial role in delivering on the EU-Africa Alliance on Investment and Jobs.

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