ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
27 March 2015

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This week’s Editor’s Pick features ECDPM’s Discussion Paper on regional dynamics in Africa. Despite the complexities, ECDPM argues that these times offer good opportunities for domestic policymakers, regional organisations, non-state stakeholders and donors to engage purposefully in such regional enterprises. ECDPM and the IDL Group are currently undertaking a study, to be published in September, on the drivers and obstacles to regional cooperation and integration in Africa on behalf of the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi.

We also include an article on the African Leadership Transitions Tracker from the Brookings Institution which recounts and visually presents changes at the head of state level in every African country from independence or end of the colonial period to the present.

Other articles look at innovative financing for the economic transformation of Africa, power and influence in Africa, and states of fragility.

ECDPM is surveying how its materials are used, to improve them in the future. By helping us understand better how you use our products, you can help us to achieve this. Please take our survey. Your answers will also feed into the external evaluation of ECDPM that will take place in autumn 2015 and into our new five year ECDPM strategy. The survey will be open until 10 April. Our community is the heart of ECDPM, and your insights are truly appreciated !

Read further for more and visit The Filter for all the news collected on EU-Africa relations and international cooperation from this week.

All the best,



Editor's Pick 

Regional dynamics in Africa: High stakes for development
Regional cooperation and integration in Africa are highly complex processes. The interests of state and non-state actors in such processes and the power they hold differ within countries and among countries. Often, the outcomes of regional cooperation are hard to predict, with the costs and the envisaged benefits unevenly spread over time among the interested stakeholders. Despite these complexities, this ECDPM Discussion Paper argues that these times offer good opportunities for domestic policymakers, regional organisations, non-state stakeholders and donors to engage purposefully in such regional enterprises. It points to opportunities and to new research that helps understand shapers and blockers of regional cooperation and helps identify opportunities and prioritise for politically and technically feasible support strategies.  ECDPM and the IDL Group are currently undertaking a study, to be published in September, on the drivers and obstacles to regional cooperation and integration in Africa on behalf of the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi.

Policy News 

African Leadership Transitions Tracker
The African Leadership Transitions Tracker from the Brookings Institution is an interactive feature that factually recounts and visually presents changes at the head of state level in every African country from independence or end of the colonial period to the present. It aims to enrich dialogue about developments occurring on the continent and place current news on elections or other types of changeover events within the broader context of the continent’s leadership story overall and what leadership changeover might mean for development. Over the next few months, Brookings will be running a series of articles based on this data.


Innovative financing for the economic transformation of Africa
This book from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa underscores the centrality of domestic resources mobilisation and stopping illicit financial flows in Africa’s quest to underwrite its economic transformation agenda.  It demonstrates that a number of characteristic features of African economies are at the root of the rather low levels of mobilising domestic resources, including low public and private savings rates, complex administrative and bureaucratic procedures, corruption and tax evasion.  The book outlines the range of opportunities and policy options that are available to African countries. It also discusses the importance and potential of regional integration in fostering investor confidence, lowering costs and improving efficiency of raising capital across jurisdictions.


Power and influence in Africa
This paper from the Institute for Security Studies Africa finds that Africa, with the possible exception of Nigeria, will remain at the margins of power and influence globally in 2040 despite the sustained high levels of growth and an ongoing broad transformation on the continent over the period. However, changes in the global distribution of power will at the very least affect Africa’s capacity for power projection and informal and formal alliance building, both continentally and globally. Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa will have a significant impact on whether the ‘Africa rising’ story materialises regardless of how they project power because of their demographic, economic and military size.

States of fragility: Meeting post-2015 ambitions
This OECD report identifies countries the most vulnerable in five dimensions of risk and vulnerability linked to fragility - violence; access to justice for all; effective, accountable and inclusive institutions; economic foundations; and capacity to adapt to social, economic and environmental shocks and disasters. The post-2015 development debate offers an opportunity to make the international approach to fragility and financing “fit-for-purpose”. Far greater international political will is needed to support nationally owned and led plans, build national institutions at a faster rate, and help countries to generate domestic revenues and attract private finance. And donors must be more flexible and risk tolerant to on-budget aid modalities and build national institutions.

Busting 5 myths on political-economy analysis
Many continue to argue that it is not the business of development banks or aid agencies to analyse politics, let alone act on key findings. This resistance is posited on several arguments - or myths  - according to Stefan Kossoff, Head of Profession for Governance in UK DFID: that there is a set of development interventions called “technical aid” that exist above the realm of politics and a second set called “political aid” that operate within the political realm; that political economy is necessarily the ‘dismal science’ of problems and constraints, rather than solutions and ways forward; that an emphasis on politics diminishes the importance of technical knowledge and specialisation; that standards of rigor and evidence are lower in the field of political economy than other academic disciplines; and that taking political economy seriously is about understanding ‘them out there’ rather than ‘us in here.’

‘Developing Cultural Industries: Learning from the Palimpsest of Practice’
This new book by Christiaan De Beukelaer, published on the European Cultural Foundation website, explores the connection between culture and broader goals of human development offering a thorough exploration of how the concepts of cultural and creative industries are constructed and implemented across African countries. Through quantitative research, it leads towards a broader understanding and insight on the global implications of the European debate surrounding creative industries. Christiaan De Beukelaer published this book through the support of the 2012 Cultural Policy Research Award.

Help ECDPM define its future communications products: Take our survey
ECDPM is surveying how its materials are used, to improve them in the future.  By helping us understand better how you use our products, you can help us to achieve this. Please take our survey.  Your answers will also feed into the external evaluation of  ECDPM that will take place in autumn 2015 and into our new five year ECDPM strategy. The survey will be open until 10 April. Our community is the heart of ECDPM, and your insights are truly appreciated!

ECDPM is hiring: Executive Assistant for the Strengthening European External Action
ECDPM is looking for a dynamic, organised and flexible Executive Assistant to support and be a full member of its Strengthening European External Action Programme.  The candidate will have a very high proficiency in undertaking complex layout using Microsoft Word and excellent English language skills (written and spoken). Typical tasks include organising internal and external meetings, managing schedules, English minute taking, layout of complex documents, assisting in preparing tenders, liaising with programme members and with other back office functions, and documenting the work of the programme to report to external stakeholders.

-This working paper from the Investment Policy Hub looks at the ongoing debate on tax avoidance by multinational enterprises - with new ideas and methodological approaches to examining the fiscal impact of multinational enterprises, including an explicit call to action to the OECD/G20 BEPS Action Plan.

-While Brazil, India and China have been criticised for being obstructive in the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, this Institute of Development Studies (IDS) paper argues that what appears to be a confrontational style of diplomacy is in fact an assertive affirmation of long-standing principles. Rapid and real progress is being made both in these countries’ national frameworks and their international commitments to making the SDGs a reality.

-Do foreign aid dollars promote peace and security? There is a growing body of evidence that in some cases introducing aid money into a violent context can increase levels of violence as players scramble to divert or control those dollars. AidData has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative as part of a consortium seeking to answer these questions by exploring the relationship between foreign assistance and intrastate conflict.

-In this brief for the International Growth Centre, Paul Collier and Caroline Laroche present a framework for natural resource management - diagnosing weaknesses in national natural resource management frameworks. Their key messages are that natural resources need not be a curse, that governments need to get the natural resource management policy right, and that strong political actions are required to ensure natural resource wealth is used to support inclusive growth.

-This paper from the Brookings Institution asks if the world can deliver on financing African infrastructure by collecting data on three major sources of external financing. Though there are challenges to compiling the financing data in a comparable manner, the information is sufficient to establish the pattern of support across countries and sectors.

-The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) outlines its four trade priorities for the global development agenda in 2015 - including designing a trade system that keeps poor countries at the core; shifting from ‘free trade’ to ‘open trade’; opening up global value chains to new opportunities for poorer countries and reducing the cost of trade. ODI argue all should feature in all post-2015 development debates.

-This CDI Practice Paper provides a critical assessment of the literature on tax experiments to date, providing practical reflections on how to move forward in low and middle-income countries where this type of research is still underdeveloped. It offers a guide for practitioners on the main challenges in quantitative research on tax compliance and on the methods used tackle them.

-This report by MPs from the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee argues that the UK’s spending on multilateral organisations and humanitarian assistance is coming at the expense of DFIDs important and effective bilateral work with priority countries.

-This report by GEGafrica is the latest in its BRICS Insights Papers and focuses on BRICS and Development Finance Institutions.

-This latest Insights report from McKinsey entitled ‘From liability to opportunity’ looks at how to build food security and nourish growth.

-This Political Risk and Emerging Markets blog from the World Bank reflects on the investment prospects for countries facing fragility and conflict. Despite the deteriorating security situation, investors will still seek business opportunities as long as the expected return on investment is sufficiently high to cover a required level of return plus risk premium.



Recent and upcoming events

The EU Council published it regulation on the ‘Common Rules for Imports from Certain Third Countries’.

The European Union pledged €160 million for Guinea-Bissau to consolidate democracy, strengthen the rule of law, accelerate economic recovery and improve people's lives.

The European Commission approved 22 new multiannual national programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund for the period 2014-2020, worth together approximately €1.8 billion. An additional 36 national programmes will be approved later this year. These two strands of EU funding support Member States' efforts in the fields of asylum, migration and integration, and internal security.

In a set of annual reports, the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy assessed the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy with the 16 partner countries in the East and the South and made recommendations for the year ahead.

Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for trade, has said that transparency and corporate social responsibility will be two of the five priorities in her pending review of the European Union’s global trade strategy. Malmström suggested that the EU should consider introducing extra legislation to make corporations more responsible for the impact of their business on the developing world, citing as examples recent EU efforts to improve working conditions in Bangladesh and to prevent trade in valuable metals from fuelling conflict in central Africa. The Commission will present its ideas in the autumn.The European Commission published its regulation on the rules of origin related to both the scheme of generalised tariff preferences and preferential tariff measures for certain countries or territories.

A European Commission report outlines how trade policy and regional trade agreements support and strengthen EU economic performance. The report served as the basis of Member States' discussions at the Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers in Riga this week.

A European Parliament report outlines the need to reform the United Nations, in virtually all areas of the organisation's activities, to adapt to new global power configurations. The report takes stock of progress in key areas of reform and argues that reforms have often been hampered by a lack of global consensus on how they could be carried and what they would entail.

Another European Parliament report assesses the challenges on the road to Paris Climate agreement, arguing the Lima Call for Climate Action left a number of important issues unresolved. The leadership role of the EU in international climate action is being challenged by the latest developments and EU climate diplomacy will have to adapt to the new situation if the EU wants to retain its leadership role, and remain a major player in the global transition towards a zero-carbon economy and energy system.

A European Parliament hearing on cultural diplomacy and the follow-up to the Commission preparatory action on "Culture in the external relations of the European Union" on Monday acknowledged the fundamental role that culture and intercultural dialogue have in the EU external cultural relations and proposed a European Rapid Reaction Cultural Mechanism. The European Neighbourhood Policy rapporteur will take the recommendations of the EU Preparatory Action Culture in EU External Relations (to which ECDPM took part) onboard his own work on the ENP.  The meeting can be watched online. See also ECDPM’s blog on European Contribution to Stability and Development Through External Cultural Action.

The UK’s International Development Official Development Assistance Target Bill was adopted enshrining in law the UK pledge to spend 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance.

A meeting of senior OECD and IMF public-private partnerships and infrastructure officials this week and discussed the role private finance can play in addressing infrastructure gaps and a new framework for infrastructure governance.

The Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform was held this week.

The ACP-EU Subcommittee on Trade Cooperation is meeting today. They are discussing Economic Partnership Agreements, market access, commodities and other ACP-EU trade regime issues, WTO issues and preparations for the Joint Ministerial Trade Committee meeting.

COMESA’s policy organs have started meeting this week in the run up to the COMESA summit next week.

The UEMOA High-level Committee on Food Security adopted a ten-year Community Programme on Agriculture to Ensure Food and Nutrition Security. The ministers also analysed the food situation in the community space and made recommendations, which will be submitted to the next UEMOA Conference of Heads of State and government. They also aim to strengthen the various monitoring mechanisms to ensure better implementation of the High-Level Committee’s recommendations in Member states, and launch an awareness-raising campaign to inform community citizens about the ten-year programme, in particular with the support of professional agricultural organisations and civil society.

The third session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda were held this week dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets and indicators.

The Executive Summary of the Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals was published.

The technical report by the Bureau of the United Nations Statistical Commission on the process of the development of an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda was also published.

The Group of 77 and China issued statement to the third session of the intergovernmental process on the post-2015 development agenda. They believe that any attempt at clustering or repackaging of SDGs would militate against the interests of developing countries and risks backsliding towards silo approach which could easily threaten the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, in opening the seminar on “Trade Finance in Developing Countries” at the WTO yesterday, pointed to a recent WTO Secretariat paper that showed trade financing gaps are “the highest in the poorest countries, notably in Africa and Asia”. He said that “lack of development in the financial sector can be a significant barrier to trade”, and told participants “let’s redouble efforts to work together and resolve this problem”.

The ACP group outlined elements for a WTO post Bali work programme.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia organised a regional consultation to provide a regional input to the global negotiations on financing for development. The continued importance of Official development assistance (ODA) was stressed during the consultation, but the question of financing for sustainable development should be framed in much broader terms.

The Joint AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development started this week and continues until Tuesday. One of the key outcomes will be an African Data Consensus. An African Regional Integration Index will also be presented. The participants are also expected to produce a draft Common African Position on Financing for development which will be forwarded to the third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa from 13th to 16th July 2015.

Experts discussed the common African position on the Post 2015 Development Agenda at the Committee of Experts meeting organised ahead of the 2015 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) hosted a regional consultation for high-level political and Central Bank representatives, NGOs, civil society and the private sector to discuss financing the post-2015 development agenda, climate financing, and  international private financial flows. The results of the consultation will be included as part of a Common African Position for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

If African development and economic transformation are to succeed, international financial institutions and domestic policies must reform, stated African Civil Society Organisations at the Regional Consultation towards the Third International Conference of Financing for Development held in at UNECA this week.

Tomorrow, UNECA will convene a meeting to discuss the Continental Free Trade Area. The meeting seeks to draw attention to the CFTA agenda and gather momentum towards the negotiations for a continental free trade area, which are expected to commence in 2015 in accordance with the road map.

The European Parliament Development Committee will discuss financing for development, budget support, migration, EU-Africa relations, and tax at its meeting on 31 March-1 April. Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, Director General, European Commission will discuss budget support. There will be an exchange of views with Nick Westcott, Director for Africa, EEAS on Africa. Watch online live or a recording after.

The OECD Task force on Charting Illicit Trade next week will discuss its first synthesis report on illicit trade, comprising estimates on the values and flows of some of the most important sectors.

The OECD Global Forum on Development next week will provide the opportunity to discuss how developing countries interpret the global policy agenda, how goals and their financing can realistically be  tracked, and what national constraints and conditions govern development finance policy and practice.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation Expert workshop on “Financing the post-2015 agenda: shaping a measurement framework for monitoring resources in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” will be held next week. The  workshop will discuss ways of measuring and tracking external development finance to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

ECDPM’s Anna Knoll will act as a discussant in the session on ‘Shaping a universal, measurable and achievable target for policy coherence in the SDG framework’ at the OECD Building Policy Coherence: Tools and Tensions 2.0 meeting on Monday. This session will provide an opportunity to reflect on possible specific targets for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) within the SDG framework.

Sebastian Große-Puppendahl will attend the European Policy Centre meeting on Lifting People out of Poverty – Can Public-Private Finance Truly Deliver?

Willy Kokolo will attend the Hans Seidel Foundation meeting on Europe’s Security Order – De-Construction or Re-Construction?

Publisher: The Weekly Compass is produced by ECDPM with financial resources provided by our core and institutional funders: The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.

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