The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: Examining Methods and Motives in the EU’s External Migration Agenda

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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The European Commission’s EU Trust Fund for Africa, meant to manage the root causes of irregular migration, is an aid instrument designed to quickly direct funds to development projects in the African countries that have been hardest hit by migration.

While the main “push” factors behind illegal migration require urgent attention, the EUTF does not yet adequately address them. Unlike more conventional development initiatives, the EUTF supports some security- and containment-oriented projects, leading critics to doubt the motivations behind the policy. 

Currently, a majority of the EUTF's funding is redirected from other, more stringently-monitored EU development aid instruments, which may compromise its adherence to EU/OECD-DAC rules for development spending.

The EUTF represents a powerful opportunity for resilience-building and development in Africa, but its methods and aims can still be improved. By focusing more on humanitarian outcomes, addressing unresolved issues that are truly at the root of forced migration, and better engaging with African partner countries, the EUTF can be rendered more coherent with the EU's official policy objectives and with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

EU migration policy, development cooperation, migration-development nexus, push factors, South-North migration