Investing in potential with the EU’s long-term budget

Written by Ery Papalambrou

ONE’s newest publication, An EU Budget that Invests in Potential, which charts the potential results that EU aid could deliver, comes at a time when more than half of the world’s population living in extreme poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa. The next EU budget is crucial to put Europe on track to help end extreme poverty by 2030.

The 2018 Eurobarometer survey on development shows that 9 out of 10 EU citizens believe that the EU should support people in developing countries. The next long-term budget will define the EU’s position as a global leader. As the world’s current largest aid donor, tackling extreme poverty — especially in the world’s poorest countries — by supporting the right investments must remain a core priority for the EU and its member states.

The next multiannual financial framework (MFF) will take us to 2027 — just three years shy of the 2030 deadline to end extreme poverty, the first of the Sustainable Development Goals. If the EU and its Member States are committed to making serious progress towards meeting the 0.7% aid target, they need to lead the way with a bold and far-sighted long-term budget that commits €140 billion to aid.

ONE is calling for 50% of the suggested €140 billion budget to be allocated towards least developed countries (LDCs) and fragile states in Africa. Currently, the EU spends only 25% of its aid in these countries, although these are the regions that are most in need of assistance.

ONE’s analysis shows that if EU’s aid budget reached €140 billion, it could provide, per year, 32.5 million children with a school education, 43.5 million with basic health care and nutrition, and 50.3 million people with a minimum social safety net in Africa’s fragile states and LDCs.

These results would not only empower populations living in the world’s poorest countries but would be an essential element of a new partnership between Europe and Africa.

Africa’s population is set to more than double by 2050, with half of the population younger than 25. Investing in the future of Africa’s youth today will enable this dynamic population to drive growth and innovation that will shape the future of both Africa and Europe. The next MFF is a unique opportunity to set us on a path to harnessing this potential.

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