The African Union (AU) turned 50 years old in May. In a person’s life, that’s a major milestone. Some are either facing a mid-life crisis or looking back happily at their busy life’s accomplishments, hoping for a peaceful future. So it goes for the AU - turning 50
a milestone, although one can say that for an institution with 53 relatively young independent states, it is an early milestone. Some progress has been achieved and much remains to be done. ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo’s blog considers three elements -
– that will be important to accomplish the objectives set for the next 50 years.
Six 'spaces to watch' for future EU development assistance
With the EU budget almost agreed, it’s time to focus on the 'how' rather than the 'how much' for EU development assistance. ECDPM's Florian Krätke looks at what steps the EU has taken to future-proof its development policy and practice for 2014-2020 and beyond. Recent development of six initiatives are explored that could enhance the EU’s future cooperation efforts including differentiation of developing countries, blending development assistance and private funds, and its position on the post-2015 global development framework
. He finds that the EU seems committed to improving the effectiveness of its ODA but retains a traditional 'aid logic'. Nevertheless, these initiatives allow policy-makers and practitioners to shape EU development cooperation for the future.
Human rights based approach to development: Danish Minister Friis Bach talks to ECDPM
“By taking a broad set of human rights, you can actually reach out to all countries” says Christian Friis Bach, Minister for Development
. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the European Commission and the European External Action Service, organised a seminar in Brussels on 3 June on applying a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to development in line with the Agenda for Change and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy. There is not yet a full consensus as to what a “HRBA in EU development cooperation and programming” really implies in practice. For example, how do you implement it in countries where aid holds no sway? ECDPM’s Geert Laporte questions Minister Friis Bach, who is one of the architects of the HRBA approach.
Japan and the EU: Friends of Africa?
A new dawn of Japan-Africa relations began this week, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development to spend nearly 25 billion euros in Africa over the next five years. ECDPM’s Geert Laporte explores Japan as a leading force in development, and asks what would Japan gain from an alliance with not only Africa, but the EU?
As the EU primarily focuses on the software of development - poverty reduction, governance and human right - Japan primarily provides the hardware - economic transformation, infrastructure and growth. The presence of Japan has grown rapidly in Brussels, with Japan International Cooperation Agency becoming an omnipresent player near the EU Commission and the European External Action Service, making a combined action from Japan and the EU appealing to Africa.
African civil society perspectives on South-South cooperation
South-South Cooperation (SSC) – the exchange of resources, personnel, technology, and knowledge
between developing countries – is often hailed as an alternative approach to traditional development cooperation. African civil society, however, is concerned that the lack of conditionality in SSC could undermine the fight for good governance, democracy and respect for human rights according to a new study from the Belgian NGO coalition 11.11.11. The 58 African civil society organisations surveyed in 11 African countries say it is up to them and their governments to put solid governance frameworks in place that ensure SSC is aligned with the needs and interest of African citizens
. The capacity of civil society, however, needs to be strengthened to play an effective role.
Good governance in Africa through taxation
Africa’s reliance on natural resource revenue and development aid takes away the mutually beneficial relationship of taxation between its citizens and government, Mick Moore of the International Centre for Tax and Development argues in this TED talk. There is no incentive to provide better public services for citizens to prosper if the government itself does not solely depend on the prosperity of its citizens for revenue
, he says. The solution is to fund Africa through tax and give citizens natural resource revenue allowing the government to generate revenue through taxation.
Is policy coherence the answer to poverty?
The role of donor governments is changing as domestic-resources and foreign loans become more significant in developing countries. And global poverty is increasingly focused in countries that do not need aid or cannot absorb it, writes Andy Sumner in a blog for the Economist. He argues that smaller cross-governmental administrative units with mandates to pursue ‘policy coherence’
are the best fit for working on poverty. ECDPM’s Florian Krätke, citing recent ECDPM research comparing EU Member States’ efforts to promote policy coherence for development
, explains that countries where such cross-governmental units and structures exist generally lack not only the requisite skills and resources, but the political backing and hard evidence necessary to make progress in this area.
‘Men get motorbikes, women get voice’. Questions on people-centred business
At the People Centred Business event at the European Parliament this week, Robin Roth suggested that firms ought to prove that they are not ‘bad’ rather than showing how good they are through FairTrade labels. Companies could carry notices such as ‘contains toxic pesticides’, unless they can prove otherwise. Bruce Byiers, who attended for ECDPM, says in a blog that this discussion, whilst frivolous, is interesting in the context of promoting food security and value-chain integration in Africa. It highlights how ‘a handful of firms dominate trade and processing of food to the detriment of producers’. This is in contrast to FairTrade and cooperative models, where the benefits are both material (men have more motorbikes) and social (women have more of a voice).
He raises three questions which would merit further attention, around the model, scaling up and outsider influence on the FairTrade and the Cooperatives movement.
West Africa’s Aid for Trade strategy
The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Aid for Trade Experts Group met in Abuja, Nigeria from 21-23 May. The overall purpose of the meeting was to move towards the finalisation of the Regional Aid for Trade Strategy, to update on recent initiatives and to prepare for the forthcoming Global Review on Aid for Trade to be held in July. Dan Lui, ECDPM Programme Associate, gave a presentation on a forthcoming study on Regional Aid for Trade and Corridors
, tailored to the ECOWAS context and the issues the region is discussing. ECDPM's participation at the meeting builds on a long-standing commitment in assisting the region on Economic Partnership Agreements and Aid for Trade related issues.
Achievements and challenges of Trade-Related Assistance
The EU’s Trade-Related Assistance (TRA) - setup to create employment and income growth in developing countries - met many of their priorities between 2004 - 2010, but there were still some areas left unfulfilled.
The European Commission find the programme has been successful in increasing trade in poorer developing countries
, but was unsuccessful in diversifying trade and allowing poor countries to increase inclusive employment opportunities. The TRA expansion over wider areas, however, allowed it to engage in diverse contexts and it was also successful in coordinating with different national stakeholder groups, but struggled to ensure synergies between national and regional interventions. The report also found other problems, such as the lack of involvement of non-state actors in the design and implementation of the TRA.
Towards a European Global Strategy: Securing European influence in a changing world
Only one of the 11 strategic objectives in EU Global Strategy report features development policy prominently, focusing on two areas of EU expertise - ‘human development and preventing conflict’. The focus of this new strategy should remain poverty reduction, but the agenda should also build on the progress of economic freedom and human rights. The EU should also address thematic global and regional issues - climate change, food security, and democracy - that "link development policy more clearly to the EU’s other strategic objectives and strengthen its global governance agenda"
. The report also calls for more 'coherence' between trade, aid, development policy, and political approach, and its policies should be implemented in line with its strategic objectives.
ECDPM vacancy: Research Assistant Economic Governance, Trade and Regional Integration Programme
Deadline for application: 21 June 2013. For full texts of the vacancy and more, please go to www.ecdpm.org/vacancies
Additional Articles in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version