Invest in the future

Activity report 2023 - 2024

Jumping child on a stage, smiling young adults behind

"International cooperation has become a major political challenge in the face of our global challenges and should be considered an investment in our common future."

Jean Van Wetter
Managing Director, Enabel

Picture of Jean Van Wetter


2023 was a pivotal year. The war in Ukraine entered its second year, the conflict in Gaza literally exploded and in West Africa coups d'état followed one another. Our work has become difficult because of the complex geopolitical situation. Yet, Enabel teams want to be peace builders.

Aerial view of the historic monuments of Kyiv with the Independence Monument in the foreground
Aerial view of a desert area with a herd of cattle crossing a road

Ukraine: new country, new challenges

On 24 February 2022, an armed conflict on a scale unseen since 1945 broke out in Europe. Two years into the conflict, war is devastating Ukraine. Many countries intensify efforts to support the people and rebuild the country. Belgium is among these countries.   

In December 2023, the Belgian government mandated our organisation to launch a programme in support of reconstruction in Ukraine: with a 4-year budget of 150 million euro, Enabel will provide support in the areas of health and social protection, education and employment. These actions will focus mainly on the Chernihiv (north-east of the capital) and Kyiv regions.

A bold programme which, given the volatility of the geopolitical situation, will be extremely flexible. Daring, but essential, because, as Albert Camus said: "Peace is the only battle worth waging."

International cooperation essential in view of Sahel instability

Over the last three years, a wave of coups d'état hit the Sahel region. The disparate international reactions to these coups underline how complex the intense regional and international competition between the major powers is.

Africa has become a crossroads of geopolitical acquisitiveness. China and Russia in particular organise massive disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining the West; but also the Gulf States have colossal financial means at their disposal.

European and Belgian cooperation with Africa, which is based on a logic of solidarity, must adapt to this new global geopolitical situation.

  • On the one hand, international cooperation and foreign policy need to pool their expertise and work together.
  • On the other hand, the war in Ukraine confirmed what most states seemed to have overlooked: Europe should be able to prevent any external interference and increase the defence budgets. 

But it would be a mistake to sell off international cooperation, a driver of cooperation, in favour of military defence, a driver of security. Without peace, there can be no development... and vice versa.


The climate crisis is accelerating exponentially. Together with our partners, we are working to meet this challenge. Climate finance, energy transition, land rehabilitation, sustainable environmental management: the solutions are there.

Lake Tanganyika

An endangered ecosystem

Lake Tanganyika borders Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. This 10-million-year-old lake is a true natural wonder. Yet, its exceptional biodiversity is under serious threat from economic activity – around 200,000 tonnes of fish are caught here every year – but not only that: demographic pressure, climate change, urbanisation and pollution are all factors that are jeopardising the lake's equilibrium.

The Lake Tanganyika Water Management (Latawama) project, funded by the European Union, aims to ensure a sustainable future for the region and its inhabitants.

Laying the foundations for sustainable lake management

As part of the environmental monitoring of the basin’s waters, Enabel and the Lake Tanganyika Authority set up a database and a geographic information system to measure water quality. Data are supplied by four laboratories, which were renovated and modernised by Enabel. They are located in Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigoma (Tanzania), Uvira (DRC) and Mpulungu (Zambia).
Thanks to the Walloon Region’s financial support to the tune of 500,000 euro these labs have been equipped with photovoltaic installations and can operate continuously, independently of the unreliable local grid.

Towards sustainable urban waste management

In conjunction with the public authorities, we have developed a series of initiatives focusing on solid waste and wastewater management in the areas around the lake.

  • In Bujumbura, Burundi, the project equipped the wastewater treatment plant (the only one of its kind along the shores of the lake) to improve its operation. This treatment plant plays a key part in the city's environmental policy. It is also essential for public health since cholera outbreaks occur in the region.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 1,200 inmates of the Uvira prison live in precarious conditions, leading to health risks and having an environmental impact on the lake. In collaboration with MONUSCO, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Congo, Enabel has installed toilets, showers and washbasins, as well as rainwater collection and recycling systems. The toilets are connected to a biodigester that supplies gas to the kitchens, avoiding the need to burn wood.
  • In Kigoma, Tanzania, we are working with the municipality to improve waste management by providing equipment, containers and infrastructure to collect, store and transport waste. We also run awareness campaigns with communities and civil society organisations.
View of Lake Tanganyika with pirogues and people
View of the lake with small boats at sunset
View of the lake at twilight
Aerial view of a road surrounded by trees in Mauritania

Search for ingenious solutions to improve daily life 

In Mauritania, to improve access to remote villages, Enabel, with the support of the European Union, addressed critical sites, where rural dirtroads are often impassable during the rainy season.

Beside improved access at these sites, the environment benefits: surface water is retained, underground water tables are replenished and vegetation is regenerated. In the village of Magta Sfeira and elsewhere, mainly local materials were used in construction and maintenance is in the hands of the local community.

Aerial view of arid land in Burkina Faso

Towards sustainable land restoration in Burkina Faso

Farming is a major challenge in the semiarid Sahel region. Land degradation and severe droughts, the result of climate change, are complicating the task of farmers and sometimes lead to conflict between local agropastoralists.

In Songretenga, a village in the central-eastern region of Burkina Faso, Enabel is working hand in hand with the local authorities to restore more than 130 hectares of degraded land using innovative technologies.
The aim of restoring this land is to achieve food self-sufficiency and help preserve a sustainable ecosystem.

How can we finance our future?

While climate crises follow one another, the need to limit global warming to +1.5 degrees appears to be more pressing than ever. A just climate transition is now a condition sine qua non for ensuring that our planet remains habitable. However, more than political goodwill, this requires a solid financial framework and innovative financing mechanisms of an unprecedented scale.

Mozambique: a new lease of life for the climate  

Among the new instruments are debt-for-climate swaps or the conversion of debt into climate change actions. This is one of the instruments chosen by Belgium to support Mozambique in its fight against climate change: Enabel facilitated negotiations between the two countries, leading to the cancellation of part of Mozambique's sovereign debt to the Belgian state.

This swap allows Mozambique to invest in projects that will enable local populations to better protect themselves from the adverse effects of climate change: For example, Enabel is working with the Mozambican authorities to set up early warning systems for cyclones in districts that have no such systems. Such systems are inexpensive and easy to set up and can considerably reduce the impact of a disaster by warning people of imminent danger.  

The rise of the private sector

In Palestine, Enabel is working closely with the private sector to promote a green and circular economy. Through the Green Palestine initiative in the West Bank, our teams are working with the Palestinian Stone and Marble Industry Union and the Palestinian Food & Agriculture Industries Union. In these industries, the ambition is to improve waste management and recycling, boost energy efficiency and promote renewable energies, and improve capacity and awareness.

Views of green hills with fields and forests


The inclusive development of the private sector is full of opportunities. Inclusive development respects the environment. It actively involves women and young people. It promotes decent work. Inclusive development also uses digital tools in creating the solutions of tomorrow.

KinEmploi : Move on young people

KinEmploi is a professional integration project aimed at young people and women in the city of Kinshasa. It aims to help young people find sustainable, quality jobs through vocational training and job coaching, incubating entrepreneurs and accelerating the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In 2023, the programme supported 600 young people, most of them women (89%). It boosted employment in key businesses, in the digital, hospitality, food processing and photovoltaic sectors.

Entreprena heading forward

Agricultural, women’s and urban entrepreneurship and the green economy are the 4 components supported by the Entreprena project in Guinea. This project is aimed at creating SMEs and start-ups and strengthening their competences and competitiveness. Access to financial services and technical and economic support play a central role. In the 'green economy' component, the aim is to build local capacity in forestry management, to promote the agro-ecological transition and to develop local ecotourism.

The project is completed. It supported 7,500 entrepreneurs (56% of whom were women) and created 11,000 jobs.

Benin: the digital rise

In Benin, Enabel coordinated the DigiBoost project, which aimed to support the digital sector. Among other things, the European project has led to the creation and training of the Women In Tech community in Benin, bringing together women entrepreneurs and digital professionals.

It also helped the Innovative Entrepreneurship Support Structures in Benin restructuring their incubation and acceleration programmes for start-ups and provided them with computer equipment. 300 start-ups were incubated and accelerated through increased support for civil society organisations.

A springboard for women entrepreneurs

The Awa Prize is inspired by a simple fact: One in three businesses worldwide is owned by a woman. And even though most self-employed workers in sub-Saharan Africa are women, women face more obstacles in developing and managing their business than men.

Each year, the Awa Prize rewards the work of women who have made a positive impact on their communities through their businesses, and at the same time, a community of women entrepreneurs fighting against socio-economic inequality is brought together. In 2024, the Awa Prize will be awarded to women entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries.

Four pillars for decent work

Decent work is a cornerstone of a fair society, helping to improve people's living conditions. It focuses on four areas: job creation, workers' rights, social protection and social dialogue. In the Great Lakes region – in DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda – we are implementing a series of projects dedicated exclusively to achieving these objectives.


Creativity is a force, a driver that shapes the future. It transcends the limits of the ordinary, plays with conventions and opens wide the doors to innovation. In every creative spirit, there is daring and the potential to change the world. 

Art as a driver of urban development

In Musanze, a small town in the north of Rwanda and the gateway to the well-known Virunga Park, the recent renovation of the youth centre was the focus of attention. Local materials were used for the building providing training rooms, a Fablab, artists' studios and IT services, as well as sports facilities for basketball, volleyball and handball enthusiasts.

Empowering young people in the region and supporting them in their search for their own path is at the very heart of the project. This is why the centre has been designed as a hub for entrepreneurship and skills exploration, where young people can try their hand at a range of sports and arts, as well as making creative use of their abilities.

At the inauguration, a 4-metre-high wooden statue standing in the middle of the courtyard attracted attention: a CosmoGolem. Built by local artists and based on an original idea of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen, the statue symbolises hope, faith in the future and diversity.

Such initiatives show how art can breathe new life into urban spaces and also provide younger generations with keys to exploring their future. The presence of symbols like the CosmoGolem is a reminder of the importance of valuing artistic expression, and promoting a more inclusive future, in cities around the world.

Creative entrepreneurs

The ‘Guinée Créative’ project was launched in 2021. It aims to support the emergence of the creative economy in Guinea by building capacity and creating jobs and businesses in the fashion, design and audiovisual industry.

The project has teamed up with Guinea's National Crafts Promotion Office to launch the first official label for the Léppi, Guinea's emblematic fabric. It stimulates local production and positions Léppi as a quality craft product on the international stage.
The project’s Guinée Créative platform welcomed more than 10,000 visitors while the work of 31 fashion designers was showcased through a pop-up store.

The project is funded by the European Union. It targets the Conakry-Kindia-Mamou axis, where the project supported more than 190 entrepreneurs, helped formalise 50 businesses and created 110 jobs. The sales of the companies supported increased by an average of 70%. 

Innovate to create better

In 2023, Enabel concluded the e-TAMKEEN project in Morocco, which aimed to digitalise the public administration and enhance the competences of civil servants at central and local level, in particular through training in the use of digital tools and agile methods.

Enabel co-organised the second Idarathon, a hackathon organised for and by civil servants to tackle the major challenges facing the public service. This has resulted in the creation of a digital platform to match jobseekers with job openings in the agricultural sector, a multilingual mobile application to help citizens better understand administrative procedures, and a data platform to ensure the transparency and security of used car sales.

Two young actors during a shoot in Guinea
Three veiled women staring at a computer screen

Ugandan success at the New European Bauhaus

Two years ago, we worked with the architectural firm Bkvv and the Ugandan authorities to build and renovate vocational training facilities in Uganda. We used local materials and sustainable construction techniques.
The pavilion is made mainly from renewable bamboo materials and is a striking example of environment-friendly architecture. A few months ago, we were delighted with the pavilion’s selection for the New European Bauhaus festival in Brussels, which brings together avant-garde design and sustainable design architecture.

Sustainable bamboo pavilion at Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels


Unequal access to healthcare represents one of the greatest obstacles to developing a just and sustainable world. Investing in health is a genuine investment in the future. Enabel is very familiar with this spearhead area of expertise. The fight for universal healthcare is more than ever a global challenge, one that we cannot let go.

Towards global health equity 

Africa today only produces 1% of the vaccines that it needs. To tackle this challenge, the MAV+ Team Europe Initiative supports the African Union's ambitions for resilient local production of vaccines and healthcare products as well as a strengthened pharmaceutical ecosystem on the continent.

In Senegal and Rwanda, Enabel is establishing partnerships with the national regulatory authorities (Senegal’s Agence de Réglementation Pharmaceutique and the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority) to comprehensively regulate healthcare products, including the manufacture of vaccines, strengthen laboratories and provide technical advice.

Fight against malaria

Caroline Gennez, Minister of Development Cooperation and Bill Gates

As part of a concerted effort to combat malaria, Enabel, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bluesquare have established a strategic partnership that will enable them to step up their efforts in Niger and Burundi.

We are tackling the root causes of malaria using a variety of strategies, including improving access to quality health care, integrating local malaria control activities into existing health systems, building the capacity of national malaria control programmes, developing innovative malaria surveillance and response systems, and intensifying malaria research efforts.
All these activities are complementary to ongoing Belgian bilateral programmes in Burundi and Niger aimed at consolidating broader national health systems.

Modernise, train, care

Health is a key sector in Enabel's cooperation with Burundi. In the past ten years, this has resulted in the modernising of medical infrastructure and the training of healthcare staff. 66 health centres have been renovated and equipped to provide optimum services, including drinking water and solar energy.

Man working in a hospital laboratory

The digital transformation, furthermore, helped optimise healthcare resource management and patients monitoring through a centralised platform bringing together all health data.
Finally, a reform of medical training has been adopted so professionals can have the most up-to-date knowledge and competence.

"It used to be hard to keep track of blood donors or to find a donor for rare rhesus needs. Now, we just consult our database and we can call donors.”
Ndayiragije Audifax, IT Officer at the National Blood Transfusion Centre

Kigoma: the importance of access to water

Access to drinking water is essential to decent living conditions – as is access to sanitation services. In the Kigoma region of Tanzania, the WASKIRP project supported no fewer than 200,000 people in this way. With an additional contribution of 900,000 euro from the Tanzanian government, the project will be extended until January 2025, for a total budget of 13.7 million euro. This significant increase in funding will enable us to make rapid progress and complete crucial infrastructure work in the Mkongoro and Kidyama districts.

Construction site in Tanzania with workers at work

Royal visit

On 24 April 2024, HRH King Philippe paid an official visit to Enabel's offices in Brussels.

He took the opportunity to discuss the complex geopolitical issues that influence Enabel's activities, from the climate crisis to the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, the unrest in eastern Congo and the challenges of migration. The King took part in a round table discussion on cooperation with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our initiatives in favour of young people, entrepreneurship and social protection were presented to him. 
He also talked with our colleagues who left Gaza and discussed the launch of our activities in Ukraine, where Enabel will be carrying out a reconstruction programme.

King Philippe of Belgium with a woman and a man and a group of people in the background

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Photos credits: Colin Delfosse, Elias Halabi, Belgium MFA, Isabel Corthier, YAGA.
© Enabel

In memoriam

This activity report is dedicated to our colleague and friend Abdallah Nabhan, aged 33, and his son Jamal, aged 7, who were killed on 25 April 2024 in Gaza in an Israeli bombardment of the town of Rafah. Abdallah's 65-year-old father, his 35-year-old brother and his 6-year-old niece also lost their lives.
Abdallah was a dedicated and valued colleague. He joined Enabel in April 2020 as Business Development Officer for a European project in support of small businesses in the Gaza Strip.
Like all other Enabel employees in Gaza, Abdallah was on the list of people authorised to leave Gaza – a list that was handed over to the Israeli authorities several months ago. Abdallah died before he and his family were allowed to leave Gaza. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.

Two children on a bicycle in a West Bank town