This stems from an agreement with the Finance Ministry, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák said on February 22, after the cabinet okayed the annual plan for bilateral development assistance for 2017.
“Based on the government's approval of the document today, we may launch calls for proposals now,” the minister said, as cited by the TASR newswire. “Neither our priorities nor the countries [receiving aid] have changed. It's a total of 10 countries, or nine plus one, where our primary focus is on development assistance.”
Special attention is being paid to Southern Sudan, which is grappling with specific humanitarian and social concerns. For humanitarian and development assistance to evolve into economic cooperation and a dialogue, Slovakia would need to have a diplomatic presence there.
Slovakia's chief ambition this year is to deal with the fragmentation and to further expand the capacities and powers of the national development agency, through a gradual increase in the volume of funds directed for development aid, according to a approved proposal.
In line with the development aid programme for 2017, Slovakia will focus on three countries – Afghanistan, Kenya and Moldova.
In Afghanistan, the aid will primarily be used for education, agriculture and reformation of the security sector. The Foreign Ministry will allocate €200,000 for development aid in Afghanistan in 2017 from the Slovak Aid budget. This sum does not include the expected additional contribution for supporting this country.
Programme cooperation with Kenya in 2017 will be strengthened by a new inter-governmental agreement on development aid. The novelty will be the joint project by the Visegrad Group/V4 countries (the CzechvRepublic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) to be financed from the EU Trust Fund for Africa. The Foreign Ministry will allocate €1.2 million for development aid in Kenya this year.
In Moldova, Slovakia is set to focus mainly on the correct functioning of the country's public administration, water and sanitation. The ministry will designate €600,000 for this.
Meanwhile, Syria, along with its neighbouring countries and Southern Sudan, will remain Slovakia's territorial priorities in 2017 as well. The state will also focus on Serbia and Macedonia, for which it will provide humanitarian aid.
22. Feb 2017 at 23:26 | Compiled by Spectator staff