Commissioner Piebalgs in South Africa to launch €126 million new health care programme to fight HIV and tuberculosis
European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will visit South Africa from 13th to 16th of September to discuss EU-South Africa development cooperation and visit a number of key projects to see EU-South Africa cooperation in action on the ground. Whilst there, he will launch, together with the South African Minister of Health, a major EU-financed health care programme to help the South African government to enable more people to access better health services. During his stay he will also attend the 4th annual South Africa-EU Summit.
Before arriving in South Africa, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "South Africa is a key strategic partner for the EU and has a leading economic and political role on the African continent. With €140 million a year, the EU showed a steadfast support to help the country in improving access to water and sanitation to hundreds of thousands of households, tackling pandemics and to creating jobs. Yet the country faces challenges with large parts of the population still living in poverty. I will confirm our continued commitment to finding innovative ways of working together to further support the South African people."
During his meetings with South African partners Commissioner Piebalgs will discuss the future of South Africa-EU cooperation, building on the ongoing domestic South African debate on a long-term vision and strategic plan that promotes economic growth and social equality in the country. For example, the blending of loans and grants may be a possible innovative approach to supporting development. Other topics will include aid effectiveness and the perspectives for trilateral cooperation with South Africa as a key actor on the continent.
Launch of €126 million programme for improved healthcare
The €126 million EU-funded Primary Health Care Sector Policy Support Programme aims to contribute to increased life expectancy, reduced maternal and child mortality and the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. To this purpose it will support the South African government, and notably the Minister of Health, to improve access to healthcare services for patients and to raise the quality and management of the health system at district level.
EU Commissioner Piebalgs stated: "I applaud South Africa's efforts in increasing access to health care for its citizens and improving its quality, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, efforts remain to be done. The launch of one of the largest EU health programmes in the world shows that we want to make a real difference in people's lives: reduce maternal and child mortality, fight diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and increase live expectancy."
Participation at the South Africa- EU Summit
On 15 September Commissioner Piebalgs will attend the annual South Africa-EU Summit, together with President Van Rompuy, President Barroso, and Commissioner De Gucht. This is the fourth bilateral summit since the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership between the EU and South Africa in 2007.
South Africa-EU cooperation
Development cooperation between the EU and South Africa aims to bring added value through innovation, pilot programmes, capacity development and the sharing of skills and knowledge. For 2007-2013, €980 million of EU aid are available under the Development Cooperation Instrument. Focal areas of cooperation are employment creation and capacity development for service delivery and social cohesion. So far, €580 million have been committed, mainly through budget support programmes (e.g. water for growth and development, employment, primary education, governance, primary health care). In addition to EU grants, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has a lending mandate of €900 million (2007-2013) to support public and private sector operations.