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European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

12 November 2015
by eub2 -- last modified 12 November 2015

The European Commission launched on 12 November with other EU Member States and other European donors the EU's Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.


The European Commission has launched an “Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa”, made up of €1.8 billion from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), to be complemented by contributions from EU Member States and other donors. To date, Member States' contributions amount to around €81.3 million and the EU expects more contributions to follow.

What is a Trust Fund?

A Trust Fund is an innovative mechanism under the EU's Financial Regulation used in the field of development cooperation to pool large resources from different donors to enable a swift, common, complementary and flexible response to the different dimensions of an emergency situation.

Who benefits from the Trust Fund?

The Trust Fund will benefit a wide range of countries across Africa that encompass the major African migration routes to Europe. These countries are among the most fragile and those most affected by migration. They will draw the greatest benefit from EU financial assistance. The countries and regions are:

  • The Sahel region and Lake Chad area: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
  • The Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • The North of Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
  • Neighbouring countries of the eligible countries may benefit, on a case by case basis, from Trust Fund projects with a regional dimension in order to address regional migration flows and related cross- border challenges.

What is the aim of the Trust Fund?

The Trust Fund aims to help foster stability in the regions and to contribute to better migration management. More specifically, it aims to address the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration, by promoting economic and equal opportunities, security and development. It constitutes an important instrument for the implementation of the Action plan adopted at the Valletta Summit.

How can the support help to deal with irregular migration and refugees?

The European Agenda on Migration aims to prevent further loss of lives at sea and to reinforce overall cooperation with key countries of transit and origin. It also aims to tackle root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement in countries of origin and transit, in particular by strengthening the rule of law, creating economic and education opportunities, and building better governance, and the effective sustainable return, readmission and reintegration of irregular migrants not qualifying for protection. This requires a firm commitment to supporting capacity building of third countries in the field of migration and border management, as well as to the stabilisation and development of these regions of Africa.

What types of projects can be financed by the Trust Fund?

  • Establishing economic programmes that create employment opportunities, especially for young people and women, with a focus on vocational training and the creation of micro and small enterprises. Actions could contribute in particular to supporting the reintegration of returnees into their communities.
  • Projects supporting basic services for local populations such as food and nutrition security, health, education and social protection, as well as environmental sustainability.
  • Projects improving migration management, including containing and preventing irregular migration, effective return and readmission, international protection and asylum, legal migration and mobility, and enhancing synergies between migration and development.
  • Supporting improvements in overall governance, in particular by promoting conflict prevention and enforcing the rule of law through capacity building in support of security and development as well as law enforcement, including border management and migration-related aspects. Actions could also contribute to preventing and countering radicalisation and extremism.  

How is the governance of the Trust Fund organised to facilitate participation?

The Trust Fund will benefit from an innovative method of decision-making. Its global strategy is set by its Strategic Board, which is chaired by theEuropean Commission and composed of representatives of EU Member States and other contributing donors. Its Operational Committee, made up of representatives of the European Commission and contributing Member States, then selects appropriate projects.

Partner countries and their relevant regional organisations will be invited to participate at both levels of the Trust Fund's governance. One of the principles of the Trust Fund is to engage in political dialogue with African partners in order to design strategic and efficient interventions. As such, national and local authorities will be consulted, in advance, with priorities and projects submitted to the Strategic Board and the Operational Committee, in order to ensure local ownership. All partners will also be duly associated with the process of identification, formulation and implementation, and may express their views in the Board and the Operational Committee.

Where is the money from the Trust Fund coming from and how does this complement other EU funding?

The Trust Fund pools together money from different European Commission financial instruments under the EU budget, including considerable new resources. Fresh funding from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) reserve, complemented by the integration of some funds from the Regional Indicative Programmes for West, Central and Eastern Africa, along with contributions from National Indicative Programmes for the Horn of Africa. Further funding has been drawn from other financial instruments such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to address the crises across the regions concerned. The Commission-managed instruments amount to €1.8 billion and are supplemented with new funds from EU Member States and other donors.

The EU Trust Fund will complement the existing EU and its Member States’ development aid to Africa amounting to over €20 billion every year and which aims to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Overall, EU assistance will respond to the aspirations of the people of the regions, addressing the motivations that encourage them to voluntarily migrate for economic reasons as well as the root causes of forced migration and displacement.


Valletta Summit on migration

Migration has long been a key component of EU-Africa relations. The EU and its Member States have already been investing towards tackling the root causes of migration with over €20 billion of official development assistance (ODA) to Africa every year. The current refugee crisis has however shown that it is time to increase this cooperation between Europe and Africa, based on partnership and shared responsibility. Both continents share a commitment to improve migration management.

The Valletta Summit was called by the European Council in April 2015 to discuss migration issues with African and other key countries concerned. The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is one of the main deliverables of this summit. An Action Plan to step up cooperation on migration is also expected to be adopted at the Valletta Summit, including concrete actions in order to:

  • maximise the development benefits of migration and address root causes;
  • better organise legal channels for migration and mobility;
  • ensure international protection for migrants and asylum seekers;
  • intensify the fight against criminal networks engaged in migrant smuggling and human trafficking,
  • step up our cooperation on return and readmission.
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