Following the presentation of his diplomatic credentials today to His Excellency Christopher Loeak, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the new Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, His Excellency, Andrew Jacobs and the Hon Finance Minister, Dennis Momotaro signed a financing agreement that provides the Marshall Islands with an additional EURO 1 million (USD 1.3 million). This extra funding will be added to the EURO 7.5 million (USD 10 million) already provided by the EU for outer island solar systems.
“On my first visit to the Marshall Islands I am very happy to provide these additional funds which will allow the Marshall Islands to complete its outer island electrification programme – ensuring that everyone in the country has access to electricity,” Ambassador Jacobs said. “Combined with our continued support to the water sector the European Union is very happy to have helped improve living conditions in the rural areas.”
“We are very grateful to receive EU support,” Minister Momotaro said. “The outer islands solar programme has already shown good results and its potential impact is significant. The additional funding will complete the electrification of all outer island communities in the Marshall Islands. Already the programme provides school children with more opportunity to study and it has increased the opportunity for women to extend income generating activities, such as the production and sale of handicrafts.”
The Marshall Islands became eligible for EU support in June 2000 when it joined the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group and signed the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, in Cotonou, Benin. Since then, European Union programmes in the Marshall Islands have provided renewable energy systems to outer island households and schools through its REP5 programme and its successor, NORTHREP. The EU’s other major project, the Water Catchment Programme, has provided over 1,200 water tanks to households and communities, many on outer islands. These tanks have been crucial in times of drought. Additionally the European Union has provided EURO 500,000 (USD 650,000) in grant funding to ten NGOs through its Marshall Islands Non-State Actors Programme (MINSAP).
Starting in 2014 the EU’s next funding cycle – the 11th EDF – will continue supporting Marshall Islands’ energy sector.
The EU is the world’s single largest provider of development assistance.