East Africa

East Africa


The East Africa region covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Several countries of the region have made considerable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. GDP has continued to grow in most countries. Flows of foreign direct investment remain buoyant to many countries, and business in the region remains characterised by high levels of entrepreneurship, ranging from the development of mobile payment systems to the creation of networks for delivery of organic agricultural products.

However, countries of the region still face considerable challenges in poverty reduction and income disparities, unemployment and lack of basic services. Climate change exacerbates pressure on scarce resources; the livelihoods of large numbers of people already affected by poverty and food insecurity are further worsened by erratic rainfall and crop yields. Meanwhile, conflicts in a number of areas, unaccountable government and the absence of the rule of law remain key challenges. Violent extremism is gaining ground. There are unprecedented numbers of forced displaced persons and migrants both moving within the region and leaving it, with growing numbers travelling to Europe.

EU cooperation initiatives in East Africa are defined by the 2011 EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa and 2015 Regional Action Plan. In addition, at the Valletta Migration Summit of November 2015 the EU and African partners adopted a Political Declaration and an Action Plan to prioritise migration in development cooperation actions of the EU and its Member States.

EU development cooperation in Eastern Africa is delivered at different levels: national, regional, continental and thematic, all of which are financed either by the 11th European Development Fund or the EU budget.

National country programmes for DjiboutiEritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda promote improved agriculture and food security, transport and energy, health and education, and governance and institutional building, drawing from a total amount of over 2.9 billion euros in grants. These respond to national challenges and priorities agreed with Governments in a spirit of partnership, ownership and mutual responsibility, in line with the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Projects are implemented through different methods, including the use of budget support and blending mechanisms (e.g. the African Investment Facility). Sudan and South Sudan do not benefit from national allocations since they have not ratified and acceded to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, respectively. However, both countries may benefit from ad hoc allocations from the reserve of the European Development Fund under certain conditions.

East African countries also benefit from regional projects under the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Indian Ocean Regional Indicative Programme, continent-wide support under the Pan African Instrument and from other thematic programmes such as the Global Public Goods and Challenges, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The EU also finances a number of Common Security and Defence Policy missions for peace-keeping operations in East Africa.

Additional funding to East Africa will be channelled through a newly established EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The Trust Fund allows for the delivery of a flexible and speedy response in priority areas of intervention, including increased economic opportunities, resilience building, improved better migration management, and governance and conflict prevention.

Regional cooperation with Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean

The Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) regioncomprise African countries with very diverse political and socioeconomic backgrounds. These countries are members of one or more of the following five Regional Organisations: COMESA, EAC, IGAD, IOC and SADC.

  1. COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) has 19 member states: Burundi, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its main focus is on the formation of a large economic and trading unit capable of overcoming the barriers faced by individual states in the sub-region.
  2. EAC (East African Community) has five member states: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. It has a clear regional integration mandate aiming at achieving a monetary union and eventually political integration.
  3. IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) covers the eight countries of the Greater Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea (suspended since 2007), Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan. Its core mandate is built on four strategic pillars: agriculture, natural resources and environment; economic cooperation, integration and social development; peace security and humanitarian affairs; and corporate development services.
  4. IOC (Indian Ocean Commission) is an organisation that groups together five island states: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (France) and Seychelles. Its main focus is to strengthen the relationship and solidarity of the Indian Ocean islands for sustainable development and enhanced regional cooperation.
  5. SADC (Southern African Development Community) comprises 15 member states: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The overall goal of SADC is to promote and achieve equitable and sustainable development to be attained through increased regional integration.

Cooperation at regional level supports these organisations and their development policies and also addresses cross-regional issues on the basis of three thematic priorities: peace and security, regional economic integration and regional management of natural resources. A strong emphasis is also put on supporting the development of regional infrastructure for road transport, sustainable energy, information and communications technology and water

Regional Indicative Programme for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (2014 – 2020)

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