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Don’t Ignore the Elephants in the Room: Will the Africa-EU Summit Revitalise the Partnership?

To make next week’s Africa-EU summit a success, strong leadership will be needed on both sides of the partnership to square up to the elephants in the room, sorting out the differences to get on with making the EU-Africa relationship a success, argues ECDPM’s Deputy Director Geert Laporte. There needs to be a fundamental change in the mentalities and mind-set of both parties to shape the intercontinental relationship and its time for the influential African and European leaders to stand up and to make this work. The summit should tackle the delicate issues that have created tensions between both partners.  Co-responsibility holds a greater potential for success than conditionality and unilateral imposition and sanctions.
 

Policy News

VIDEO PLAYLIST: Challenges for Africa-Europe Relations
Ahead of the Africa-EU summit, watch these ECDPM interviews with stakeholders about the challenges for relations in 2014 and for the future. In our latest videos, we speak to Joseph Chilengi, African co-Chairperson of the Africa-EU Civil Society Joint Steering Committee; Lamine Baali, Saharawi Ambassador to the African Union; and Alix Masson from the European Youth Forum. You can also see earlier interviews with Gary Quince, Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union; Dr. Rene N'Guetta Kouassi, Director of Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission; and Professor Jack Mangala. Also, watch the opening session from ‘Making Africa-EU relations future proof’ that was livestreamed from Addis Ababa a few weeks ago.

Towards a Euro-African Alliance for Peace, Security and Development
Philippe Darmuzey, former Director of the Pan African Division in the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, argues that to rejuvenate EU-Africa relations, leaders need to go beyond the current policy framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership and the rhetoric of the Africa-EU Summit and create a Euro-African Treaty for Peace, Security and Development. To be recognised and effective, the commitments by the partners on both sides of the Mediterranean must be fixed in a formal agreement that will consolidate the Africa-EU Partnership into a legally binding framework.

African Regional Integration and the Fight Against Illicit Financial Flows
Alex Cobham blogs on the African Development Bank’s estimates that illicit financial flows (IFF) have drained in excess of a trillion dollars from Africa since 1980. He says that there is no question that African policymakers are focused on the issues. They now face three major questions: 1) What national or regional countermeasures are likely to yield benefits by reducing IFF?; 2) What national or regional countermeasures are needed to meet international responsibilities?; 3) What scope is there for greater benefits from the ongoing international processes? The answers to all three are linked, because the opportunity to benefit from international processes will depend on regional and national actions.

PODCAST: How African Countries Need to Get on With the Business of Diplomacy
ECDPM’s GREAT Insights magazine this month focuses on new diplomacy and development. We feature many interesting articles ranging from how economic diplomacy can play a role on trade and investment of developing countries to Ghana’s challenges in a new diplomatic environment by a former Ghanian Ambassador to the EU. In this podcast, ECDPM’s Clem Silverman is joined by his colleague Dr. Bruce Byiers and their guest Dr Huub Ruel to talk about his article on how African countries need to get on with the business of diplomacy.

Beauty Contests and Economic Transformation
In the week where African Ministers of Economy, Finance, Planning and Economic Development are meeting to discuss economic transformation and industrialisation at the 7th Joint AU-ECA Annual Meeting, Bruce Byiers reflects on the launch of the Africa Transformation Report,  held in Brussels last week. “As beauty is only skin-deep, so too is growth”. So Joe Amoako-Kuffour began the launch event. “Growth may be good, but it must be accompanied by economic transformation”. While lauding the approach and the focus, Byiers  also points to how the index might be useful for policy-makers and in focusing on questions of when and why political leaders decide to promote economic transformation, and how indeed to make growth more than skin deep.

The European Parliament's Role in Relation to Human Rights in Trade and Investment Agreements
The EU has included human rights clauses in its international trade and cooperation agreements since the early 1990s. These clauses permit a party to a trade agreement to adopt ‘appropriate measures’ in the event that the other party violates human rights or democratic principles. This study, by Lorand Bartels for the European Parliament, reviews the design and operation of these clauses in light of the EU’s new competences and the European Parliament’s new powers under the Lisbon Treaty. It considers in particular the application of human rights clauses to investment protection obligations, and it suggests new corporate social responsibility obligations. The study concludes with 11 recommendations for future human rights clauses, and discusses legal and practical issues relating to their implementation.

By the Numbers – How Donors Can Support a Demand-led Post-2015 Data and Statistics Revolution
Do we need a ‘data revolution’ goal to create the right demand for a data and statistics revolution post-2015? Recent calls for a ‘data revolution’ emphasise how in the dark we are on the social, economic and developmental status of developing countries, especially in Africa. Accurate, timely, relevant and available data and statistics in many cases simply don’t exist. Efforts to improve data are mostly donor-driven, and given fluctuating aid levels, they’re rarely systematic, and relegated to technical discussions far-removed from what data should be for: good governance, transparency and accountability. ECDPM’s Florian Krätke argues for a global goal to improve the quality and availability of economic, demographic, environmental and social data alongside the goals in thematic areas.

Politically Smart, Locally Led Development
Donors face increasing calls to think and work more politically, but what exactly does that mean? And how should they set about it? A recent workshop organised by The Policy Practice and the IDL Group examined six cases of aid-supported interventions that have achieved positive, and potentially lasting, impact and explored the factors that were critical to success. They included local leadership; external support to broker common interests; investment in building relationships; avoiding pressures to spend or achieve short term results; iterative design; a learning culture; and politically informed and astute management.

The CAADP and the Emerging Economies: The Case of Ethiopia
The third and last country case study for ECDPM’s research project on emerging economies and the role of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) has now been published. This study focuses on Ethiopia and the linkages between the national CAADP processes and international agricultural investors, in particular from the emerging economies. The study finds that despite the adoption of CAADP as the main Ethiopian cooperation framework, development partners’ engagement and alignment is still limited. While deeper CAADP alignment of the emerging economies would benefit Ethiopian agricultural development, currently this would require both stronger incentives and stronger demands by the government to engage. See the earlier case studies on Ghana and Tanzania and the summary document which draws some conclusions on the potential for greater involvement by different partners in the CAADP.

Infographic Showing how Improved Agricultural Water Management Is Crucial For Regional Food Security
This short video uses an infographic to illustrate the links between water, agriculture and trade in the 15 countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the potential to harness these linkages for improved regional food security during the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP). Bridging different sectors and geographical levels will be key for connecting regional agricultural frameworks with actions from national and local Agricultural Water Management networks and initiatives in SADC.  The paper from which the infographic is derived provides suggestions for such potential synergies for improved Transboundary Water Resources Management in SADC, especially in the context of the Regional Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Investment Plan derived from the RAP.

More news from The Filter

The European Voice has released a special report on EU-Africa relations. The summit has been preceded by increasingly hectic weeks of meetings to settle a wide range of unresolved issues, including how debate should be framed. It is likely to produce four declarations – on climate change, agriculture, migration, and the international agenda on development – but the main hope is that it will provide a political steer on issues that the EU describes broadly as ‘peace, prosperity, and people'.

Jeune Afrique has released a report on the EU-Africa summit: ‘Sommet Europe-Afrique: Crises, vous avez dit crises?’ ECDPM's Geert Laporte and Isabelle Ramdoo are quoted in this article.

Robert Chambers from the Institute of Development Studies challenges readers to examine the pervasive significance of power in forming and framing knowledge in his new book: Into the Unknown. This book includes tips on how to lead and convene workshops that can co-generate knowledge and have an influence.

The Institute of Development Studies also looks at how to use local IT solutions to improve local government tax reform. The report says the two systems frequently favoured by donors and governments are sophisticated international systems, however using locally developed, frequently open source, private sector solutions can offer a superior option.

Can a political economy approach explain aid donors’ reluctance to think and work politically? asks Neil McCulloch on the From Poverty to Power Oxfam blog. He says: “The more enlightened (in my view) aid types have been wagging their fingers for decades, telling their colleagues to adopt more politically literate approaches to their work. Why isn’t everyone convinced?”

Real growth in global trade has decelerated significantly since its sharp recovery in 2010 according to a report from the World Bank. This aggregate deceleration in global trade includes absolute declines in real trade for many product categories and regions. Among the many explanations offered for the Great Trade Collapse of 2008–9 there has been a significant focus on whether the emergence of global value chains (GVCs) in international trade, and their behavior, are a contributing factor in trade slowdowns.

ECDPM’s Damien Helly provides four country reports for Preparatory Action on Culture in EU External Relations. The first covers Egypt, which has conducted an ambitious range of cultural diplomacy efforts at various levels through bilateral cooperation channels and through a systematic tourism policy that include heritage as a key component. The second looks at Lebanon, whose culture in external relations in this small country is in fact mostly a non-state activity whose reach extends far beyond Lebanon’s confines. The third discusses Algeria’s cultural sector, which is still caught between a government-led ideological approach to culture and a modernised vision of cultural diplomacy. Finally, he looks at Moldova that is going through deep change and transformation, speeded up by the prospect of some form of association with the EU and internal aspirations on the part of cultural stakeholders for more and better access to Europe.

Participate in the final online consultation to share your views on the draft Food and Agriculture Business Principles from the United Nations Global Compact. While considerable progress has been made by the private sector to date – Governments continue to face challenges in aligning their agricultural, resource, export and import management policies with the sustainable development agenda.

Geographies of Conflict. Mapping overlaps between extractive industries and agricultural land uses in Ghana and Peru from Oxfam. Ghana and Peru have experienced dramatic growth in their mining and hydrocarbons sectors in recent years, and both countries have also experienced conflict between local communities and extractive operations.

ODI examined what science is telling us about the impacts of climate change. With extreme weather projected to become more commonplace, 20 years of progress on extreme poverty is under threat. The things you care about most – food, water, health, education, equality and peace – are likely to suffer. So what can we do? In 2015 the international community will come together to address the next steps for climate change and development. What the report makes clear is that climate change is development.

The International Monetary Fund look at sustaining long-run growth and macroeconomic stability in low-income countries—the role of structural transformation and diversification. They say cross-country empirical evidence points to a range of general policy and reform measures that have proven effective in promoting diversification and structural transformation in LICs. A new diversification toolkit developed by Fund staff provides easy access to highly disaggregated, product-level data on export diversification and product quality, enabling country authorities and mission teams to conduct more detailed, country-specific analysis.

Evaluation of the OECD Development Assistance Committee contributions with the Trade Committee to the WTO-led Aid for Trade Initiative.

It is necessary to examine how the ICC can overcome the current challenges and build upon its successes to date. And more specifically, how the EU and its Member States can, and should, help the ICC in this respect. By critically assessing the EU’s performance to date in mainstreaming support for the ICC throughout its policies and activities, this European Parliament study addresses these questions.

For more articles, see The Filter
 

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No 183, 28 March 2014


Dear Jacques,
 
The EC put forward a proposal for an EU Council Decision modifying the Internal Agreement on the financing of European Union aid under the multi-annual financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020, in accordance with the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.

The African Union Commission and the European Union have signed an agreement renewing funding of the African Union Support Programme II with EU €28.8 Million and AU €3 Million contribution at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. The programme aims to support the acceleration of African integration and sustainable development efforts as foreseen in the vision and mission of the AU, while building capacity of the AU organs. The Council also adopted the three-year Action Programme for the African Peace Facility 2014-2016.

The EU Council adopted a directive on taxation of savings interest strengthening EU rules on the exchange of information on savings income, aimed at enabling the member states to better clamp down on tax fraud and tax evasion.

The EU's annual report on the implementation of its Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) shows a mixed picture. The policy has faced some challenges in steering partners towards reforms and might require 'continuous scrutiny of the appropriateness and suitability' (also of its instruments) but 'there are compelling reasons for it to remain the framework for the EU’s relations with its neighbours for the years to come. At the same time, the EU needs to make efforts to ensure more coherence in EU policy.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on launching consultations to suspend Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement in view of recent legislation further criminalising homosexuality. The ACP Parliamentary Assembly Declaration on the proposal rejects any attempt to pressure the ACP countries into accepting values contrary to the wishes and aspirations of their peoples.

The European Trade Commissioner says that in the coming week the Commission is going to have a meeting with the East African Community partners in a further attempt to wrap up the seven items that were still on the table, including three big ticket items: the MFN clause, export taxes and the non-execution clause. Ahead of the EU-Africa summit there would also be yet another attempt to conclude the EPA with the SADC, with export taxes being the most important item in this case. On other important elements, such as market access and in particular agriculture, these negotiations were getting to a good stage. The Commission referred to the EPA market access regulation, stressing that the 1 October 2014 deadline was not going put an end to the negotiations.

West African Ministers held last-minute talks yesterday to address lingering doubts over the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. ECOWAS member states had yet to reach a consensus on whether to approve the EPA, sources said. The EPA is scheduled for consideration by ECOWAS Heads of State today. A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), farmer-based groups, religious organisations and labour unions have asked Ghana President John Mahama not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU. Nigerian civil society and private sector groups have also called on their government to reject the ECOWAS conclusion of the EPA.

Germany announced priorities for the new Africa concept to be launched in 2014 in the German parliament. He called for new structures needed for conflict prevention and crisis management. He also said it is time to start listening to African people rather than telling them what to do or try to continue patronising them. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is on a tour of Africa. He told DW on the first leg of his trip in Ethiopia that economic and democratic development cannot be separated. The usual question is: How can Germany or Europe help Africa? But the opposite question is: How does Germany profit from Africa?

Governments meet in Japan this week to discuss a major new scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. The Fifth Assessment Report”. The report provides a clear view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. Oxfam also published a report saying that climate change threatens to put back the fight to eradicate hunger by decades – and our global food system is unprepared to cope with the challenge.

The UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) will meet next week to discuss potential goals and targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015. The co-Chairs themselves have indicated they would like to have a better sense of the sustainable development goals and targets by the end of next week. It is still early in the process, and there is a year and half before the 2015 Heads of State-level Summit to decide on the next set of development goals. The OWG is well placed to set up a constructive negotiation, which will begin in earnest in 2015.

The Africa-EU Summit will be held in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday. There are rumours that the Africans may boycott the summit due to contentious issues. ECDPM welcomes visits by journalists to discuss the issues on the agenda.

Africa on the Blog is hosting a live video chat on What’s next for Africa-EU Relations? on 2 April.

The European Parliament Development Committee next week is holding a strategic dialogue with the European Development Commissioner on the EU Regulation establishing a Financing Instrument for Development Cooperation and geographic programmes. Watch live or a recording after.

The OECD Centre for Tax policy and Administration hosts a live webcast dialogue at 15:00 CET, 2 April to discuss transfer pricing and other issues.

ECDPM’s Damien Helly will present the ECDPM study for the European Parliament “The implementation of the Joint Africa-Europe Strategy: Rebuilding confidence and commitments”to the Parliamentary EU-Africa Summit on Monday.

Bruce Byiers and Isabelle Ramdoo will attend the EU-Africa Business Forum.

Paul Engel and Francesco Rampa attend the Friends of Europe meeting on Investing in African agriculture: The challenge of transformation.

San Bilal will make a presentation on Decoding partnerships to the session on the role of the private sector and enabling enfironment in financing sustainable development at the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) on Co-creating new partnerships for financing sustainable development on 3-4 April.

Isabelle Ramdoo will attend the UNCTAD Review meeting in preparation of World Investment Report

Bastiaan van Helden will attend the CTA Brussels Briefing on 'Realising the Promise of Agriculture for Africa's Transformation'.

For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with the Africa, see ECDPM’s The Filter.

All the best,

Melissa

Melissa Julian
Communications Manager
mj@ecdpm.org
 

Off The Track   
 
  US-EU Summit Joint Statement
The leaders of Europe and America have this week released a joint message, and it covers several development issues. The say “we commit to work with all partners to agree an ambitious post-2015 development agenda”. On food security the statement says that “attention should also be given to universal access to sustainable energy in Africa and other underserved regions”. As world’s two largest humanitarian donors; providing over 60% of all humanitarian aid worldwide, the impact of policies is huge, “when we join forces, we maximize our impact”, they say.

 

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