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Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas has signed the 11th EDF agreement with the EU with funding support for Vanuatu totaling to EUR 41 Million (VUV 5,170,000,000) under the National Indicative Programme (NIP), at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
Primary sector development is the key priority sector earmarked under the funding programme. Vanuatu’s 11th EDF aims at contributing to poverty reduction and improved livelihoods through equitable and broad based sustainable economic growth of the rural economy.
The 11th EDF will be channeled through the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Vanuatu and covers the period 2014-2020. This was developed based on EU’s response to Vanuatu’s National Development Strategy (NDS).
Speaking at the signing of the development package for Vanuatu alongside with Neven Mimica, Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development at the EU Commission in Brussels, the Prime Minister conveyed his utmost appreciation and gratitude for finally being able to sign off with the EU on the significant funding support under the 11th EDF.
“This assistance is crucial as Vanuatu continues to prepare for graduation from the LDC status by December 2020 coupled with the necessary steps we have undertaken to reform our tax system and economic structure in order to couch the impacts of the LDC graduation.”
The Vanuatu PM underscored the importance of the funding assistance towards strengthening Vanuatu’s productive capacity particularly in the area of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Livestock, Biosecurity, Trade, Tourism, Cooperative and Industry.
“This will further support efforts to enable the private sector improve their export capacity to participate meaningfully in regionally and internationally trade”. Three of the commodities earmarked for development under the 11th EDF through the Vanuatu NIP are: Coconut, Beef and Root crops.
The European Union in response reiterated its support to continue working with Vanuatu in delivering its projects to targeted areas and confirmed its readiness to assist Vanuatu on technical expertise in the value chain sector on products including coconut. The EU also confirmed its plan to provide additional funds to develop investment activities up to EUR 80million (US$98 million).
Commissioner Mimica welcomed the agreement by stating: “This programme is an important milestone in our relationship with Vanuatu. This initiative will support the livelihood of smallholder farmers by improving the safety and quality of key export crops while promoting its climate-resilient production and trade. It is an expression of our common interest in building a strong and climate-resilient rural economy, for a more prosperous and independent Vanuatu.”
There were other fruitful bilateral discussions held by the Prime Minister’s delegation following on from the signing of the 11th EDF in Brussels.
Further updates on preparatory events such as workshops to assist key stakeholders towards accessing the 11th EDF will become available in the coming months leading towards the final disbursement and implementation of the 11th EDF programme for Vanuatu.
SOURCE: VANUATU GOVT/EU/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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