By tackling poverty, boosting local economies and strengthening governance, the EU supports millions of people in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The EU provides development assistance to secure the long-term future of developing countries which face the rigours of operating in an ever more complex and fast-paced global economy.
The Commission finances most of its development programmes for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partner countries through the European Development Fund (EDF). Money from this pot is also spent on supporting the EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). ACP countries also benefit from substantial financing under the EU budget. Member States contribute to both the EDF and the general budget.
Commission funding for overseas aid is significant. The total financial resources of the 11th EDF amount to €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020. The tenth EDF, which covered the period from 2008 to 2013, is scheduled to give out payments of €22.7 billion. Between 2003 and 2007, the ninth EDF provided €13.5 billion to ACP countries, in addition to € 9.9 billion from the previous programming period. For an overview of EDF and Budget financing, see the Annual Reports of the European Community's Development and External Assistance Policies and their Implementation.
The EU must make best use of European taxpayers’ money by ensuring that anti-poverty programmes are tailor-made to meet local needs and that they deliver concrete, lasting results. In line with the Agenda for Change, funding is flexible and goes where it is needed most. For example, the EU’s Millennium Development Goal initiative supports 'good performers' to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and provides additional funding on a case-by-case basis to accelerate progress towards the most off-track MDGs.
The Commission funds most ACP aid programmes in four stages. Firstly, multi annual indicative programmes identify overall priorities. After this, financing decisions are taken to allocate money to specific projects. Thirdly, contracts are prepared and signed at project level to start implementation. Finally, payments are made to the contractors for delivery.
In term of implementation modalities, the EU delivers substantial aid through budget support. This implies a dialogue with partner countries on policy measures and results to be achieved. This is implemented by direct payments to the treasury of the partner countries.
Commission staff who operate in ACP countries work with partners on the spot – including governments, Parliaments, civil society organisations, the private sector, and other donors – to prepare programmes “on the ground”. This allows the Commission to tailor programmes to local needs and circumstances. Good coordination in the field contributes to the quality of EU programmes and helps the Commission to get the go ahead from EU Member states in the EDF Committee.
The Commission is facing the challenge to do more, faster and better with less resources. Evaluations show that performance keeps improving. See Evaluations, OECD DAC Peer review 2012, IOB Evaluation - "The Nederlands and the EFF - principles and practices 1998-2012", ODI studies - "How well does the EDF perform?".