Many countries in Africa are engaged in a process of post-conflict reconstruction and democratisation.
The end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, elections in Mozambique and Malawi, and peace in Eritrea and Ethiopia are opening up new opportunities for development. The demand for resources in these contexts is considerable to finance the cost of reconstruction and to redress the historical inequalities between different ethnic and racial groups.
Disagreement at the Lomé mid-term review in February 1995, between the ACP countries (from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and EU Member States, forced postponement of a decision on increasing EDF funding.
In April 1995, although the EU seems close to agreement on an EDF total of ECU 13.34bn, this does not represent an increase in real terms on the previous EDF figure of ECU 10.8bn, despite the accession of three new EU members Sweden, Austria and Finland.
This apparent failure to increase funds to ACP countries through the EDF is taking place at a time when the EU is expanding its activities in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and is likely to have particularly negative consequences for Africa. NGOs throughout Europe are lobbying vigorously for sustained and increased levels of financing through the EDF to ensure a better outcome at the April negotiations, but the outlook is not rosy.