European Court of Auditors: EU’s fund for Africa ‘lacks focus’

AdobeStock 170675494The objective of the European Union’s US$4.6bn fund to support activities in 26 countries across three regions of Africa is not focused, a new report by the European Court of Auditors observed

The EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa is a flexible tool for providing assistance in areas such as food, education, health, security and sustainable development.

The auditors said that the objectives are too broad to efficiently steer action across the African regions, and the European Commission has encountered difficulties in measuring the extent to which the fund has achieved its objectives.

The auditors claimed to have found weaknesses in its implementation and noted that projects face similar delays to traditional development aid.

The EUTF for Africa was created as an emergency trust fund in 2015 to foster long-term stability and address the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.

Bettina Jakobsen, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report, commented, “The EUTF for Africa is a special emergency tool to deal with migration. Considering the unprecedented challenges and the budget at stake, the fund should be more focused and steer the support towards specific actions likely to produce a measurable impact.”

Project objectives were often not specific and measurable, and performance indicators lacked baselines, it added.

The plethora of information and monitoring systems means there is no single, comprehensive overview of the results achieved by the EUTF for Africa as a whole. With US$4.2bn of EU funding at stake, being able to measure performance is an important aspect of accountability, the auditors stated.

The auditors made a number of recommendations to the commission to improve the quality of the objectives, revise the project selection procedures, and take measures to speed up implementation and improve monitoring.

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