Written question – Better use of EU funding for developing countries – E-000312/2016

EU development assistance goes to around 150 countries worldwide. Investment in human capital is one of the areas for which that assistance is set aside. Unfortunately, however, despite the many checks and balances in place, a large proportion of the funding concerned is still not being used properly, as a result, for example, of corruption or poor management.

One crisis situation that showed just how important it is for developing countries to have competent professionals was the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The dearth of qualified medical professionals, particularly doctors, contributed to the great speed at which the epidemic spread. For example, in the whole of Sierra Leone there were just 200 doctors, mostly based in the capital.

This problem extends beyond the number of medical staff available: many other occupations essential to the development of poor countries are also concerned, e.g. in construction, infrastructure, business and entrepreneurship.

In the light of the foregoing I should like to ask the Commission whether it is considering changing the way in which development assistance is disbursed. For example, a proportion of the funding earmarked for investment in human capital in developing countries could be set aside for the highly specialised training of people from the countries concerned not in those countries themselves but in EU Member States.

It would seem to me that the positive impact of such an approach would be twofold:

1. it would prevent funding allocated to developing countries from being wasted;
2. it would raise the level of training received by those benefiting from aid programmes.