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22 Jan 2019



Virginia Mucchi
Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

In just over two months, the United Kingdom should withdraw from the European Union. Whether it is going to happen, and if so, how, is still completely unclear. Westminster is at a complete impasse and the saga continues. The 26 pages, known as the Political Declaration that accompanies the lengthy Withdrawal Agreement, is supposed to give an overview of what the relationship could look like in the future. But as things are so uncertain, should we simply assume that the Declaration is dead in the water? In their blog for the Brexit Institute, Emmanuel De Groof and Andrew Sherriff argue this would be a mistake, as the document still offers a good starting point for a range of options for future EU-UK cooperation.

And while Brexit might keep many in Europe awake at night, the worsening situation in Zimbabwe and the latest news coming out of the DRC with the contested election results, are certainly reasons for concern for all hoping to see a further push for reforms on the African continent. Surely, there will be a lot to talk about at today’s EU-AU ministerial meeting in Brussels.

In the Challenges Paper that we published last week, the prospects for reforms played a prominent role. In the next months, we will do a series of videos and blog posts to keep it up to date. We start this week with a video interview with Mirjam Blaak, the Ugandan Ambassador to the EU and the Benelux. If you wish to join the discussions on the key moments for Africa-Europe relations in 2019, join us at the launch of the Challenges Paper, co-organised with the Finnish Permanent Representation, on 29 January in Brussels

All the best,

Virginia Mucchi

Editor's pick

Finding a new point of departure for the future of UK-EU development cooperation after Brexit

Last week, the UK Parliament rejected the draft agreement proposed by the British Prime Minister concerning the future of UK-EU relations. The authors of this blog argue that this should not lead policymakers to also discard the Political Declaration agreed upon last December. Read the blog >>


Ambassador Mirjam Blaak: ‘What we would like to achieve with the European Union is trade instead of aid.’

In an interview with ECDPM, Ugandan Ambassador Mirjam Blaak looks at what 2019 might mean for Africa-Europe relations. Watch the interview >>

Launch of ECDPM’s 2019 Challenges Paper

On 29 January, we organise a seminar to launch the 2019 edition of our Challenges Paper. African and European experts will debate the key issues at stake this year for Europe-Africa relations. To join us, please register via this form.

To find out more about the Challenges Paper, visit our dossier:​

News from


Climate action: Seeds of hope for 2019

While there is a growing recognition of the need for climate action, last year taught us that for a sustainable long-term energy transition to be effective, the roadmap to get there needs to be inclusive and citizen-driven, writes Imke Lübbeke.​ Read the article >>
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21-22 JAN

The first inter-summit EU-AU ministerial meeting, taking place in Brussels, will focus on political aspects (peace, security and governance), economic aspects (investment, trade and skills) and multilateralism.

22 JAN

Peacebuilding Deeply is organising a discussion forum on the role of women in peacebuilding.

22-25 JAN

The World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, bringing together leaders of global society.

23 JAN

ECDPM’s Geert Laporte will talk about how development cooperation has evolved since UN member states formally committed to the 2030 Agenda at the event ‘New trends in international development cooperation – inspirations for Poland’, organised by the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

24 JAN

Under the theme ‘Environment, Peace and Security’, the UN Environment Management Group will hold the first event of their Nexus Dialogue Series 2019.

Other news and interesting reads


58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png As the Brexit deal collapsed, aid experts and NGOs have warned of potential disruption to their work, reports Devex. ECDPM’s Emmanuel De Groof also shares his views.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Nathalie Tocci, director of Italy’s Institute of International Affairs (IAI), features in this article by the New York Times that explains why, amid Brexit chaos, the EU sees a ‘catastrophic success’...

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png …and the New York Times also visualises what could happen next, now that PM May’s Brexit deal has failed to go through Parliament.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Bruegel analyses the implications of a no-deal Brexit on the EU budget.

DRC election

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Although the African Union has called on the DRC’s government to suspend the announcement of the final results of the country’s December election, according to the Washington Post...

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png ...DRC’s top court has upheld the controversial election result declaring Tshisekedi the winner, according to Quartz Africa.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png The Guardian reports that the opposition is urging civil disobedience as the election appeal has been rejected.

Trade, finance and investment

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png The African Economic Outlook 2019, the African Development Bank Group’s annual flagship report, promises steady growth prospects for the continent...

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png ...while Quartz reports that Africa will have some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2019 – and a looming debt crisis.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png The International Monetary Fund analyses the impact of citizenship laws on economic development

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png ...and estimates that strengthening governance and mitigating corruption in sub-Saharan Africa could be associated with large growth dividends in the long run.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Afronomics LAW, a new blog focusing on African international economic law, highlights some of the potential weak points and risks of the African continental free trade area.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png The 2019 edition of the OECD’s ‘Social Impact Investment 2019’ puts forward recommendations on the social impact of financing sustainable development.

Food security

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png With women being less likely to practice irrigation than man due to the kinds of tools at their disposal, the International Food Policy Research Institute suggests that female farmers need extra support to mitigate the effects of climate change.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png De Volkskrant has collected the best articles of their project ‘De Voedselzaak’, focused on food security, in an e-book. It includes an article by ECDPM’s Hanne Knaepen, who argued that Africa can fight hunger by emancipating women [in Dutch].


58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png The European Think Tanks Group analyses the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s peer review of EU aid and suggests that the EU should improve its profile in the area of policy coherence.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Human Rights Watch launched its 2019 World Report, showing there is a growing global trend to confront anti-rights populists.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png A new report by Oxfam shows our leaders are failing to tackle the growing gap between rich and poor – and that women suffer the most.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png Brooking’s charts of the week put Africa’s changing demographics under the spotlight.

58239fd1-0d8c-413c-8f2a-c2f72cf5dab5.png United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the adoption of new technologies to fight climate change and to achieve the SDGs as part of the UN priorities for 2019, reports the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

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