Regional cooperation

Award of first grant from the Innovation and Policy Support Fund (F2I) created as part of FEVE 3, 8 December 2017 © photo : Enda Santé

Regional cooperation

As in the past, Luxembourg’s bilateral development cooperation has been complemented by a regional approach on three continents – Africa, Asia and Central America. This approach aims to respond to the problems faced in common by several neighbouring countries, particularly by using synergies and sharing lessons learned and best practice.

In 2017, using the Ministry of Finance’s fund to combat specific forms of criminal activity, Luxembourg financed a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) project to combat the financing of terrorism covering the Ivory Coast and Senegal. Two workshops were held in Senegal, with the participation of the Embassy in Dakar: one workshop on investigating and prosecuting cases involving the financing of terrorism and one workshop on creating financial disruptions of terrorist networks.

Since 2017, Luxembourg’s development cooperation and the Ministry of Finance have provided joint support amounting to 5 million euros to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) “AFRITAC” initiative. The IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center in West Africa is focusing on strengthening macroeconomic management capacities in order to enable the eight countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to implement financial stability and growth promotion policies.

It should also be noted that, in August 2017, Senegal launched its own internet exchange point (IXP) as part of the African Union’s “African Internet Exchange System” project (AXIS) – Luxembourg has since 2010 been responsible for financing this project via the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. The aim of the project is to put in place robust internet infrastructure across the continent of Africa and it will enable Senegal to enter a new phase in developing its digital economy. The establishment of the IXP should produce major savings for the African countries – estimated at 300 million euros annually – since internet traffic will no longer have to be channelled via exchange points located outside Africa.

As part of the third phase of the “Frontières et vulnérabilités au VIH/Sida en Afrique de l’Ouest” (FEVE) project (2016-2020), an innovation and policy support fund was established by the international network ENDA Santé and the Luxembourg NGO Stop Aids Now/Access to encourage multi-disciplinary, multi-actor cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS in West Africa. The fund was activated for the first time in December 2017 to finance a consortium of actors from the university and health sectors in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to run a project to create an IT platform for the listing and treatment of patients living with HIV in the cross-border region.

In Central America, Luxembourg’s development cooperation ended its activity in the field of corporate social responsibility via the INTEGRARSE regional umbrella organisation.

As part of its regional cooperation in Central America, Luxembourg, together with the Ministry of Finance, has focused on the financial sector, in particular by strengthening financial systems and capacities via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and specifically via the CAPTAC-DR project. Up to and including 2017, 61 capacity-development workshops have taken place, at which around 1 600 officials have been trained over the last four years.

Apart from the projects under way, Luxembourg’s development cooperation has also started cooperation discussions with the regional centre for the promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (CENPROMYPE) and the Central America Integration System (SICA).

In South-East Asia, the focus of the regional approach is the Mekong River. Firstly, Luxembourg’s development cooperation is strengthening land governance via “Mekong Region Land Governance”, a project that has organised the first regional forum, monitored “Learning and Alliance” activities and constructed its research and information platforms as well as adjusted the subsidy mechanism. Secondly, Luxembourg’s development cooperation is supporting the responsible management of the natural resources of the Mekong River via the “Mekong River Commission”, which continues to bring the countries concerned to the table to find joint solutions for water use.

Finally, Luxembourg’s development cooperation is supporting vocational training in the fields of tourism and hospitality, in cooperation with the School for International Hospitality and Tourism Business in Wiltz (BBI). In the 2016-2017 school year, 14 students received scholarships to achieve their Bachelor’s/Master’s degree and 19 students are currently in Luxembourg for the 2017-2018 school year.