ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
21 November 2014

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This issue of the Weekly Compass looks behind the façade of the implementation of aid effectiveness commitments.

We also include examine the implications for Africa of new mega-trade deals.

Further articles examine Chinese aid to Africa, European cultural action as a contribution to stability and development, the African Peer Review mechanism and more.

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

All the best,


Editor's Pick 

Behind the Facade: Looking Deeper into Busan
Major meetings in Busan (2011) and Mexico (2014) re-iterated the key principles for effective development: ownership, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships and transparency and mutual accountability. Translating this ‘jargon’ into a more accessible language means nothing more than, in an ideal world, all stakeholders in developing countries should lead in achieving development with the support of their development partners. Though on paper the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) seems to be making progress, more could be done to ensure effective implementation. ECDPM’s  Geert Laporte, who moderated a follow-up seminar in South Korea on 6-7 November, invites us to look behind the facade of the formal implementation of the GPEDC. He says that for the next stages in the process of implementation of agreed commitments, it would be good to invest in contextual political economy analysis of developing countries and donors alike.


Policy News

New Mega-Trade Deals: What Implications for Africa?
The stalemate at the World Trade Organisation over the last two decades has been accompanied by a proliferation of bilateral and regional trade agreements, and more recently mega trade agreements. Mega trade deals will have an impact on trade flows, on the direction and intensity of investment, on the structure of regional and global value chains, and will redefine the ‘rules of the game’, explains this new Briefing Note from ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo. For Africa, mega trade deals will likely lead to an erosion of the margin of preferences they enjoy to big markets and further entrench the position of Africa as rule/standard taker. African policy makers need to think ‘outside the box’ to forge strategic responses and alliances to avoid marginalisation and being rule-takers.

Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China’s Foreign Assistance
AidData investigates whether the political leaders of aid-receiving countries use Chinese foreign aid inflows to further their own political or personal interests. Aid allocation biased by leaders’ selfish interests arguably reduces the effectiveness of aid, negatively affecting development outcomes. AidData’s research shows that current political leaders’ birth regions receive substantially larger Chinese financial flows than other regions. They do not find evidence that leaders shift aid to regions populated by groups who share their ethnicity. AidData also wrote a blog on mapping the Chinese investments in Africa. Deborah Brautigam disputes a Guardian article on this study. She says the article got many things wrong about the report.

European Contribution to Stability and Development Through External Cultural Action
The EU has to a large extent failed to create an area of development and stability on its doorstep and has largely disenfranchised many of the populations in the Southern Mediterranean. Yet, it is never too late to put trust and culture more at the centre of external action, especially in times of conflict. Cultural diversity brings people back to the basic values of human existence; it gives people hope, makes them laugh or cry, and gives them symbolic tools to cope with reality. This blog by ECDPM’s Damien Helly and Greta Galeazzi offers some food for thought on how the EU can integrate cultural action in its peace building activities.

Getting Down to Business
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) explore the The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in its latest publication “Getting Down to Business” – and its three subsidiary Policy Briefs: “Building an African Corporate Governance”, “Good Citizens: Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa”, and “Corporate Governance in Africa’s State-owned Enterprises: Perspectives on an Evolving System”. These publications analyse the extensive body of information that the APRM process has gathered and explore the implications for business. Drawing on the Country Review Reports of six member states, SAIIA examines numerous themes raised. Among these are the state of the business environment, corporate ethics, company boards, corporate governance legislation, and stakeholder relationships.

Celebrating Industrialisation Day in Africa
On Africa Industrialisation Day, ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo took a step back to look at how the debate has evolved over the years, and more importantly, who has achieved what? Only a handful of countries on the continent are up for celebration. Sub-Saharan countries remain desperately trapped as exporters of unprocessed commodities and natural resources, with largely undiversified economic bases, characterised by significant productivity gaps. Time, therefore, has come to act on the rhetoric in a different way to significantly transform economic outlooks beyond the “Africa Rising” story, into one that will create better paid and decent jobs, industries and better prospects for the African private sector.

Beyond Aid: A Conceptual Perspective on the Transformation of Development Cooperation
Development cooperation is part of an international system characterised by fragmentation and limitations in global problem solving. Drawing on the term beyond aid, the German Development Institute explores the transformation of development cooperation within this system. The article distinguishes four dimensions of beyond aid – actors, finance, regulation and knowledge – where aid loses relevance relative to other fields of international cooperation. Creating links to these beyond aid dimensions is at the core of the transformation of development cooperation. The article identifies ‘specialisation’ and ‘integration’ as two options for the future of development cooperation.

Spatial Inclusion in Africa - It’s Still Political
The 2015 African Economic Outlook (AEO) will focus on Spatial Inclusion in Africa. ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers discusses a brainstorm on this topic hosted by the OECD, UNDP and AfDB. What emerged from discussions was that unless spatial inclusion can be all-encompassing, there will be an element of exclusion for some parts of the population. Tradeoffs imply policy choices. Where there are tradeoffs, there are political-economic consequences. Indeed, it might be argued that spatial approaches actually raise the level of necessary coordination and alignment of interests across actors. The discussions provided rich material for the next AEO. But the authors should be clear that thinking spatially also means thinking politically - and that is a challenge when policy comes to practice.  

Africa’s gross domestic product may expand by 50 percent to $3.7 trillion by 2019, boosted by an emerging middle class and increased household demand, according to Deloitte.

- Since the global financial crisis, trade has been growing more slowly not only because world income growth is lower, but also because trade itself has become much less responsive to income growth. The

- International Monetary Fund looks at trade slowdown, and finds it has roots deeper than the cyclical factors that are affecting world GDP growth.

- The International Labour Organisation examines IMF government spending projections for 181 countries and finds a trend from fiscal consolidation to expanding social protection.

- Brookings examines convergence—the rapid approach of average incomes in low- and middle-income countries towards those in advanced economies—and its sustainability. It explores this issue in the sub-Saharan African context, examining what has been holding the region back, how Africa might reach the rapid convergence seen by other emerging economies, and if and how convergence might be sustained.

- This CONCORD report aims to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of EU thematic and geographic instruments and programmes for development cooperation.

- The Center For Global Development’s new paper focuses on aid effectiveness. They discuss the nature of evidence on aid and why assessing its impact is so difficult. They review aid’s impacts on economic growth and social development in general before focusing on conditions identified in the aid and growth literature under which aid is more likely to be effective.

- The European Policy Centre look at the upcoming climate change conferences in Lima and in Paris. There, the different stakeholders will come together and try to reach a consensus on sharing the costs and the responsibilities of climate change and finding a balance between mitigating global warming and adapting to its impacts. Unfortunately, diverging priorities ahead of the discussions will make for arduous negotiations.

- This World Bank papers looks at how the World Bank could reach its goals of reducing global extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity defined as the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population within a country.

- This site from the World Bank serves as a central hub for information and access to debt statistics. International Debt Statistics, the primary database, provides a detailed picture of debt stocks and flows of developing countries. In addition, three databases showcase the broader spectrum of quarterly debt data collected and compiled by the World Bank. The Quarterly External Debt Statistics database takes a closer look at the external debt of high income countries and emerging markets to enable a more complete understanding of global financial flows.

- This new book from the World Bank draws on a survey of 713 firms to examine the behavior of emerging-market investors. It looks at what makes a firm likely to invest, the geographic biases in investor decisions, how market familiarity affects investment decisions, and other factors that matter to investors.

- Despite growing humanitarian and development challenges, such as the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, EU aid is off track to meet the 0.7% aid target in 2015 with a funding gap of €41billion. Only 4 EU countries are meeting aid targets: the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg. Aid budgets are increasingly being used to cover migration costs, says CONCORD in its annual AidWatch report.

What can Africa Learn from China’s Experience in Agricultural Development?

For more, see The Filter



Recent and Upcoming Events

The European Commission President issued “The Working Methods of the European Commission 2014-2019”. The document outlines what will become an additional layer of authority in the form of a triumvirate of senior commissioners, whose counsel Juncker will seek in their areas of competence: foreign affairs, expenditure and inter-institutional relations.

The European Commission published its report on financial instruments supported by the general budget according to the Financial Regulation. They also published an accompanying Staff Working Document.

The EC published its report on potentially trade restrictive measures. The tendency to impose trade-restricting measures remains strong among the EU's commercial partners, fuelling continuing uncertainty in the world economy.

The Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference concluded on Wednesday with African and Chinese officials today calling for a deepening of the partnership between the two partners. Co-hosted by the Government of Ethiopia, the African Union Commission, the International Poverty Reduction Centre in China and the United Nations Development Program, the conference explored the current state of development work in Africa and identified key areas for joint initiatives. See also China's industrialisation: Overview-implications for Africa's industrialization, the background report by Li Xiaoyun for Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference

The Inaugural Conference of Land Policy in Africa said African countries need to put in place land zoning plans for the use of land, institutional frameworks and ensure capacity building for proper land reforms and policies as well as proactive budgeting for land and development issues. UNECA published the Guiding Principles on large scale land based investment in Africa.

Climate fund pledges rose to $9.3bn at a funding event this week. At the same time, the Climate Policy Initiative’s “The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2014” says global investment in climate change reduction has fallen for the second year in a row, a drop of $28 billion from 2012, and far below estimates of what is needed. An additional $1.1 trillion in low-carbon investments is needed every year between 2011 and 2050, in the energy sector alone, to stop global temperatures rising above two degrees Celsius.

The Second International Conference on Nutrition agreed a Declaration and Framework for Action.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherin, will participate in the 4th Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development on 27-28 November.

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, participates in the EU-China Development Dialogue in China from 25 – 28 November.  On 29 November, he will participate in the "Sommet de la Francophonie" in Dakar. He meets a number of African Heads of State (Benin, Burundi, Chad, Congo, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal, Togo) in bilateral meetings.  

The European Parliament will discuss the EU and global development framework after 2015 and the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima next week. Watch live or a recording after.

The 14th meeting of the Cooperation Council between the European Union and South Africa takes place on 26 November.

The African Union holds the Africa Forum on Security Sector Reform as a Key Component of Stabilisation and Peace-building Processes in Africa from 24-26 November 2014.

West African Ministers will finalise preparation for a regional Common External Tariff next week. Ministers will also agree on preparations towards the officially launch of the CET by 1 January 2015.

Dr. Brian Levy will discuss his most recent book, “Working with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies” at an IDS event on 24 November.

ODI hosts an event on 27 November on how the implications of a ‘good fit’ approach to institutional reform differ in practice from advocacy of ‘best practice’; the timescale on which all countries may be expected to get good governance; whether a simple typology can capture the range of variation across current regimes and countries; how thinking has reached this point – and where it needs to go next.

ECDPM’s Melissa Julian is attending the 2014 Annual Meeting of the OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom) on 24 and 25 November. This year’s meeting will focus in particular on ways the Network can facilitate closer collaboration between communicators on the major development themes of 2015, especially the MDG-SDG transition.

Jeske van Seters will attend the 25 November CTA meeting on Global Food Systems, Local Impact: The Role of Agribusiness and Development Partnerships in Advancing African Agriculture. The objective of this Brussels Briefing is to discuss strategies and approaches for harnessing the potential of development partnerships with the private sector to catalyse market development and productivity in African countries.

Next Thursday, Didier Yélognissè Alia and Fabien Tondel will co-organise and facilitate the Second Consultation Workshop Policy Coherence for Development Impact Assessment on Food Security in Tanzania.

Also on Thursday, Sophie Desmidt will attend the European Endowment for Democracy meeting on security and development cooperation which will discuss challenges, approaches and synergies, arms control, border management and African peace and security architecture.

San Bilal and Sebastian Grosse-Puppendahl will attend Thursday’s Workshop on EIB Financing of SMEs. he workshop will include presentations on how intermediated financing furthers the Bank’s public policy goals and the kinds of conditions that the Bank attaches to these operations.

Francesco Rampa and Fabien Tondel co-organise and facilitate the 27-28 November Consultative Meeting on the COMESA CAADP Regional Agricultural Investment Plan Public-Private Platforms for Regional Value Chain Development.

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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Melissa Julian

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