Lisbon, Portugal, 10 Dec – The European Union (EU) Sunday signed a financing agreement for the Guinea Bissau National Indicative Program (PIN) for the 2008/13 period, totalling 102.8 million euros, the Guinean finance minister said in Lisbon.
Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Issufo Sanhá said that the funding would be distributed over five intervention areas, with 27 million euros going towards conflict prevention and reforming the security force, 26 million to power and water projects, 32 million for direct budgetary support, 15 million for civil society initiatives and 2.8 million for emergency food programs.
The agreement, which was one of 30 signed Sunday between the EU and African states, heeds the call for financial aid sent out by Guinean president, João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, in his speech to the 2nd EU/Africa summit.
At the time, Vieira also requested that 90 percent of the country’s foreign debt be converted into investment projects and other activities.
The Guinean head of state also asked international donors to support Bissau’s efforts in programs to combat drug trafficking in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Issufo Sanhá said that Guinea Bissau’s debt, of around US$1.1 billion, was one of the main constraints on the country, and represented over five times the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).
The Finance minister said that advanced negotiations were underway with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for it to sign with Guinea Bissau the post-conflict program in January 2008, in order for a donor conference to be held in February or March of the same year, in a location yet to be defined.
This conference, if it goes well, he added, could help Guinea Bissau to overcome many of the financial constraints it has faced over the last decade. (macauhub)