The Government, along with our EU partners, attach high importance to the development of relations with the countries of Africa. Our national approach is guided by the Africa Strategy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which I launched in September 2011. It sets out a framework for our policies in the political, development and economic areas in order to ensure that our engagement is as coherent and effective as possible. A fundamental principle of our approach is an emphasis on the promotion of political progress including the resolution of conflict, the strengthening of democracy, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Ireland, together with our EU partners, will continue to work with African Governments, African regional organisations, communities in the priority countries for our aid programme, the UN, and humanitarian organisations to address the causes of conflict and instability in Africa. We are also active in responding the consequences of such instability, including the displacement of civilians and the humanitarian needs of affected people.
The EU has recently adopted comprehensive strategies to address the complex problems in the Horn of Africa and Sahel regions. The EU and its Member States are also playing a significant role in addressing fragility, post-conflict rehabilitation, support for electoral processes, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, capacity-strengthening in the areas of justice and human rights, humanitarian response, and economic and social development, including through support for civil society, in a wide range of African countries.
Africa is the geographic focus for Ireland's development aid programme, with 80% of the aid budget devoted to the objective of ending extreme poverty and hunger, especially in the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Our missions in Africa monitor developments, report to the Government, and manage our political and economic relations and humanitarian and development programmes. Ireland is also contributing personnel to EU and UN missions in Africa including the Training Mission for the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia. We also regularly support and contribute personnel for EU Election Observer Missions, including recent missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal.
Ireland also strongly supports international human rights institutions focusing on Africa, including the International Criminal Court, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.
Question No. 49 answered with Question No. 28.