The European Union's Political and Development Response to Guinea Bissau


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    In Guinea-Bissau, donors are currently in the process of resuming cooperation and implementing longer-term development programmes, following the conflict that in 1998 destroyed most of basic social and economic infrastructures. For the country’s elected government, there are enormous challenges ahead: to reinforce democratic culture and institutions; to restructure and redefine the role of the armed forces; to diversify the economy and increase the involvement in regional economic dynamics; while minimising the negative effects of political instability in the subregion. The high levels of poverty, the volatile political environment (despite the progress towards democracy), the irregular functioning and lack of capacity of public institutions and the strong influence of the regional dimension, are some of the constraints under which all donors are having to plan their interventions.

    For the international community, including the European Union, several challenges lie ahead, including: fulfilling the promises made at the Geneva donors’ conference in 1999; finding alternatives to the institutional paralysis without undermining the state itself; reducing the culture of aid dependency and countering negative perceptions of external assistance; and reconciling donors’ bureaucratic structures and limited mandates with the need for rapid responses, flexibility and the sustainability of development actions.

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