International development cooperation risks being deeply affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, with potentially disastrous consequences among fragile states. Social distancing and new infection prevention protocols are hard to implement in such contexts and will inevitably have repercussions on aid, particularly related to food or the distribution of medicines. Against this backdrop, it is more urgent than ever for the EU to find new ways to deal with development finance, not only engaging partners on a bilateral basis, but also to re-brand its visibility as a strong and united developmental actor.
This would also strengthen the EU’s ability to balance initiatives launched by several international competitors (e.g. China and Russia), particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where these countries are not always compliant with a human-rights based approach.
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