Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo signed a new five-year cooperation programme today in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. Belgium and Benin join forces to create sustainable local economic growth by developing the pineapple sector and the Port of Cotonou and strengthening the rights of women and girls.
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Youth representatives from all over the world will discuss gender equality today in the margins of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The debate takes place under the impetus of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo. Together with a few UNICEF youth leaders, the presidents of the Flemish and Francophone Youth Council will also join the debate. Queen Mathilde will address the youth delegates.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announce the opening of 4 new Belgian embassies in Africa. The existing diplomatic bureaus in Cotonou (Benin), Conakry (Guinea), Bamako (Mali) and Niamey (Niger) will be upgraded to the rang of embassy as of today. In doing so, our country is demonstrating the importance it attaches to its relations with these countries, as well as to the situation in the region.
Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo received the First Lady of Benin Claudine Tallon. Mrs Tallon is on a working visit to our country this week in the framework of her Claudine Tallon Foundation, which aims to improve women’s and children’s rights in Benin. Last week, Belgium, Benin and Senegal organised a high-level event at the United Nations in New York on the use of digital data for better access to family planning.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced that Belgium will cooperate with its partner countries, Benin and Senegal, to improve access to family planning services through the use of big data and satellite imagery. Belgian data company Bluesquare and the universities of Brussels and Namur will also participate. Today, Belgium, Benin and Senegal jointly present the partnership at the United Nations in New York.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo today signed two programmes in Benin, related to the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Belgium will be cooperating with UNICEF to help combat child marriages. With the support of our country, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will be setting up an information project aimed at young people and women, covering sexual education and sexual violence. Minister De Croo also announced that Belgium will release a total of 60 million euros over the next four years in support of UNICEF's work and another 36 million euros for UNFPA.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo this week brings a four-day working visit to Benin and Senegal. He will be accompanied by Goedele Liekens and Axelle Red, both active as Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations. The four-day visit fits in with the initiative 'She Decides', which focuses on the reinforcement of rights for girls and women, and in particular with regard to their sexual and reproductive health and rights.