European Union (EU) has given three African countries Lesotho, Togo and Zambia over $1 billion for economic development under its National Indicative Programmes (NIP).

EU says NIP represent an important step in the programming aid. EU Member States agreed in 2013 the overall amount for development cooperation that will be channelled to 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) during the financing period 2014-2020 (total amount €30.5 billion).

“I am particularly pleased to see that energy and governance are key priorities for these countries, as clear drivers for sustainable development and growth. Our support will target EU resources where they are most needed and most effective and once we have signed, preparations of concrete projects and programmes for the next seven years can start,” said European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.

The recent global economic crisis hit Lesotho economy hard through loss of textile exports and jobs while Zambia’s low GDP per capita, which stands at $1400, places the country among the world’s poorest nations.

Encouraged by the commodity boom of the mid-1970s, which resulted in a fourfold increase in phosphate prices and sharply increased government revenues, Togo embarked on an overly ambitious program of large investments in infrastructure while pursuing industrialization and development of state enterprises in manufacturing, textiles and beverages. However, following declines in world prices for commodities, its economy became burdened with fiscal imbalances, heavy borrowing, and unprofitable state enterprises.

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