Below are the guidelines for regional cooperation:
- cooperation in the following regions: South-East Asia, the Andes, North Africa and the Middle East, Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa;
- it is hoped that a priority partner organisation will be selected and regularly assessed in each region. The regional programmes of international (partner) organisations, the OECD and the EU, as well as the regional programmes of other EU Member States, may be considered;
- three priority themes: 1) trade and the economy, 2) peace and security, and 3) climate and the environment.
We are currently working with the following partners.
1. West African Development Bank (WADB - West Africa)
Of the eight regional Members of the WADB, four (Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal) are priority bilateral cooperation partners. This body finances projects that target (a) infrastructure of regional interest, (b) the achievement of social programmes, and (c) private sector financing. An additional contribution has been allocated for the Energy Development Fund managed by the WADB, in view of the importance of the energy sector in the regional economy, the close link with the climate issue and with intra- and extra-regional exchanges, and the preparation by the WADB of several large projects in this area.
2. Club du Sahel (CSA0 – West Africa)
This body is part of the OECD development cluster, but has a separate and independent management structure. The Club was founded in 1976 to combat food shortages and has gradually focused on other themes, such as the competitiveness of the West African economy, the transformation of agriculture, the ownership of fertile land, democracy and good governance, conflicts and stability and regional integration. At Belgium's instigation, the Club carried out a major study into "extreme forms of child labour in cocoa plantations".
3. Mekong River Commission (MRC - South East Asia)
The MRC, which was founded in 1957 and relaunched in 1995, has four member countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam). One of these, Vietnam, is a partner country, and Belgian cooperation projects will be underway in another two of these countries for another few years. The central theme of the MRC's activities is the management of water in all its forms (management of fishing, navigability, impact on agriculture), which is a priority for Belgian cooperation in this geographical area. The Belgian contribution is intended for the MRC's "Navigation Programme" and "Hydro-electricity Programme".
4. East African Community (EAC – East Africa)
Four (Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) of the five EAC Member States are priority bilateral cooperation partners. This organisation has received a contribution to its general resources since 2009. The main raison d'être of the EAC is the promotion and facilitation of regional integration, including trade.
The EAC also manages a Trust Fund for financing preparatory studies and expertise for regional infrastructure projects (primarily transport).
The law on Belgian Development Cooperation stipulates the selection of five regional organisations which will be designated by Royal Decree. This procedure is currently being prepared.