ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
2 May 2014


Melissa Julian

Communications Manager

Dear <<First name>>,

Trade issues feature prominently in this week’s Weekly Compass. Our lead article looks at the implications for the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries of mega-regional trade agreements. Another article reports that African leaders have joined Nigeria to reject Economic Partnership Agreements.


Our latest GREAT Insights podcast interviews Professor Xiaoyang Tang from Tsinghua University in Beijing on Chinese Special Economic Zones and China-Africa researcher Solange Guo Chatelard on the integration of migrant Chinese farmers and farming practices in Zambia.

We also report on ECDPM’s James Mackie's invitation to give his views to the  Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee this week on future Scottish development cooperation. 

We also advertise for 3 vacancies at ECDPM.


Continue reading for all our policy news items and selected highlights from The Filter.


All the best,



How Can the ACP Defend its Interests in a World of Mega-Regional Trade Agreements?
What are the possible economic ramifications for ACP countries of mega-regional trade agreements - those which involve three or more countries, constitute a quarter of world trade or more, and entail deep, behind the border regulatory commitments - being negotiated by major industrial powers like the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? This paper from ECIPE explores these issues and urges a policy of constructive engagement in the WTO by the ACP countries through participation in established working groups to explore the new regulatory issues, and preparing the groundwork for their subsequent incorporation by negotiation into the multilateral trading system. While the WTO remains central to defending ACP trade interests, ECIPE encourages ACP states to conditionally support plurilateral negotiations, ensuring that their interests will be accommodated by withholding consent until such time as concrete and enforceable undertakings are in place.



GREAT Insights Podcast: Chinese Investments in Africa
Emerging economies have been playing an increasing role in the global arena, said San Bilal in GREAT Insights last month, and have thus justifiably attracted an increasing level of attention. Moving beyond stereotypes and preconceived perceptions has however proved quite challenging. China, as the dominant new actor in Africa, has been the focus of much of the talks. In this podcast we have two in-depth interviews to further explore, and perhaps challenge, preconceptions. On a macro level, Professor Xiaoyang Tang from Tsinghua University in Beijing considers if Chinese Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have been successful or not in several African countries; and on a micro level, China-Africa researcher Solange Guo Chatelard talks to ECDPM about the integration of migrant Chinese farmers and farming practices in Zambia.


African Leaders Join Nigeria to Reject European Economic Agreements
At an Extra-ordinary Session of the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade in Addis Ababa, African Ministers of Trade came to support Nigeria's position on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) saying they will have a long-term negative impact on the continent’s efforts towards industrialisation and job creation, according to the Nigerian press. Zambian Minister of Commerce, Robert Sichinga, said that hastily signing the EPAs could jeopardise their industrialisation and job creation drive and African countries should work towards enhancing regional integration and intra-African Trade through value addition of their abundant raw materials. The meeting was convened, inter alia, to discuss Africa's common position ahead of the October 1 deadline for signing of EPAs with the EU.


Measuring the OECD Response to Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries

This report shows that we are making progress in the fight against Illicit Financial Flows originating in developing countries from money laundering, tax evasion and bribery. Countries have implemented standards and complied with most recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. The G8 and G20 are urging countries to take action on several fronts and this report from the OECD is the first to measure how well countries are performing. The report recommends that donor agencies can play an effective role by following an agenda that supports the fight against illicit financial flows, strengthening their preventive and investigative capacities to tackle economic crime, and fostering political commitment to combat economic and financial crimes in developing countries.


What Would Scotland’s International Development Policy Look Like if the Country Votes for Independence?
ECDPM’s James Mackie was invited to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee this week on the Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland’s international development policy. Mackie explores the policy and financial implications in his recent blog and in his written evidence to the Committee. Scotland could choose to channel a high proportion (or even 100%) of its ODA through existing agencies such as the UN, EU, NGOs or trust funds.  This would have the added advantage of reducing the actual management of aid delivery, allowing officials to concentrate more on quality aspects (such as policy formulation, monitoring, evaluation, knowledge exchange, capacity development, specialist technical assistance) while still enabling Scotland to support sectors and/or partner countries of particular interest. The committee video will soon be available on the Scottish Parliament TV.


EU Punching Below its Weight
A comparative analysis –based on the Elcano Global Presence Index and various studies that measure power– shows that in general terms the United States and a number of the European Union member states, such as Germany, are currently punching below their weight when comparing Global Presence - defined as the effective positioning of countries outside their own borders - with actual power (or influence). Emerging and/or regional powers, such as China, seem to be successfully capitalising on their growing global presence and translating it into power. A projection of global presence data shows that under different scenarios, by 2030 China will have bridged the gap with both the United States and the European Union, but without surpassing either of them.


Modernising and Targeting ODA To Countries in Greatest Need
The relative importance of Official Development Assistance compared to other external financing is decreasing for the majority of countries, yet in Least Developed Countries, ODA still represents over 70% of total external finance and their capacity to attract other sources of finance remains limited. The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals present an opportunity for the OECD to take leadership to improve countries’ access to external development finance. This OECD paper feeds into the debate between donors with potential scenarios and monitoring the efforts needed from donors to reach their proposed targets. It considers the current state of play on the allocation of ODA to different country groups and in what scenarios we will see a modernisation of ODA.


Revitalizing Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa
Peace consolidation and state building objectives need to be at the forefront of efforts in African conflict-affected countries and should take into account the uniqueness of each local context to revitalise the African Union policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development and the African Solidarity Initiative. According to the Africa Governance Institute, this means giving more attention to the political dynamics of post-conflicts situations and helping those countries and their governments – via an holistic and coordinated approach - to strengthen security and justice systems, supporting inclusive political settlements, and ensuring citizens have access to the jobs and basic services that will help rebuild their trust in the state. International partners and organisations must ensure that everything they do in these environments serves to reinforce peace and state building.


Work with ECDPM

Junior Policy Officer for Development Policy (Economic and Financial Dimensions) in the European External Action Programme
We are looking for an entrepreneurial professional with a strong economic background to join its European External Action Programme. The right candidate will have a good economic analysis of the global development agenda beyond aid effectiveness and (co)authored publications to prove it.  With a flexibility and willingness to move amongst a wide variety of policy issues related to the changing global landscape for development using their economic analysis to support the wider European External Action team.

Junior Policy Officer in the Economic Transformation Programme
Can you contribute to ECDPM’s dialogue, networking, policy research and capacity development activities? The right candidate will have an economic degree with some experience and knowledge relating to economic transformation, industrialisation and reform processes in Africa, especially taking a private sector perspective and understanding its role in promoting inclusive growth for sustainable development.

Research Assistant for the Conflict, Security and Resilience Programme
To primarily work on the implementation of the research and policy-dialogue project “CAERUS: Bridging the Gap – Evidence based policy for post-crisis transition”.


Upgrading EU Foreign Policy
The Ukraine crisis and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa have elevated foreign policy to the top of the EU’s agenda. Carnegie Europe asks whether the EU can make its external action more effective and argues this will depend in large part on institutional decisions made in 2014.

Lets Get Down to Business - Challenges in International Development
How can development policy work with and on businesses and the business environment so that the private goals of businesses contribute to most effectively to public development objectives?  Three major challenges are outlined in this latest paper from IDS.  

Making FDI Work for Sub-Saharan Africa
FDI is an increasingly significant catalyst for growth and trade in developing countries due to a major expansion in the scope of global value chains. However, it is FDI’s spillover potential that is perhaps its most valuable input to long-run growth and development, argue the World Bank.

VIDEO: EPAs ‘Saved the Seychelles Economy’
The Seychelles is well into the implementation of its interim EPA it signed with Mauritius, Madagascar and Zimbabwe in 2009 and ratified in 2012. At the  recent ACP Council of Ministers meeting, Seychelles’ Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Barry Faure said the interim EPA “saved the economy”.

Good Governance and Active Citizenship in West Africa: Will the ECOWAS of Peoples be the Answer?
This Seminar hosted by Oxfam (conducted in French) asks whether an ‘ECOWAS of Peoples’ could be the answer to ensure Good Governance and Active Citizenship in West Africa.

Towards a Global Network of ‘Crisis Rooms’?
This latest book from the Institute of Security Studies brings together key elements from an international conference organised by the EEAS in December 2013 devoted to the challenges and opportunities in ongoing efforts of crisis responders worldwide to establish their own ‘security community’.

Russia Coming in From The Cold?
With Russia so prominent in the headlines right now, this paper reviews Russia’s engagement with the OECD on development cooperation. William Hynes and Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval suggest that twenty-first century Russian-DAC relationship could enhance development outcomes, and at long last keep a re-emerging donor out of the cold.

Open Source, Private Sector IT Solutions to Improve Local Government Tax Reform
Information technology systems are critical to realising the local government tax reforms that are the focus of growing international attention, yet donor-led solutions risk a lack of sustainability. IDS argue using locally developed, frequently open source, private sector solutions can offer a superior option.

A Big Year for Small Islands
Duncan Green’s latest blog asks how a complex systems approach can go beyond the discussion on climate change and vulnerability in Small Island Developing States. Thinking through their situation in responding to complexity, Green suggests an ‘adaptive approach’ to change.

Development Policy Should be Rooted in Human Rights
Greater respect for human rights can make development more just, curb harmful practices and improve accountability writes David Mepham in the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog.

Real Size of African Economies
There have been significant changes in the ranking of countries by the size of their economies, and Egypt has surpassed South Africa the largest African economy. Investment is the key to economic development, reports the African Development Bank.

The Challenges of Investing in African Agriculture
Developing the agricultural sector is now a priority in Africa said Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development at a recent Friends of Europe meeting. What is missing is money and support for smallholder farmers that create a great majority of Africa’s agricultural output.

Tax Dodgers are not yet Losing Sleep Over Global Tax Reform
Oxfam show how tax rules are rigged in favour of multinational corporations and how the G20’s current approach to tax reform is at risk of being dominated by corporate lobbyists.

Building a True Partnership Between Africa and Europe
The EU-Africa Summit has come at the end of an unusual period of both tension and increased cooperation between Europe and Africa and this period of flux may well decide the course relations for a generation, writes Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Foreign Minister.

For more news items see The Filter 


This Week and Upcoming Events

The African Union Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture continues its meetings today. The theme for the meeting is: “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods through Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.” The joint conference aims to highlight the importance of agriculture as a vehicle for economic growth and poverty eradication in the African continent. This conference will also take steps towards finalising strategies that will catalyse African-led solutions for African problems through agriculture and the rural sector for the next 10 years.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s meeting on the Regional Outreach of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing to the Africa Region is taking place today and tomorrow. ICESDF is charged with producing a report proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate the mobilisation of resources and their effective use in achieving sustainable development objectives. The meeting will garner the views of African stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.

The African Union Commission convened a High-Level Retreat this week on the theme Silencing Guns in Africa: Building a Roadmap to a Conflict-Free Continent, with the intention of exploring concrete options towards silencing guns in Africa. The overarching objective of the Retreat was to lay a foundation for the subsequent elaboration of a Roadmap towards a conflict-free Africa.

The Broker published a blog on last week’s Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs meeting, convened in cooperation with ECDPM and ODI, on the challenges for the new European Development Commissioner and the future of EU development cooperation. The main message of the day was that while the European Commission has all the potential to play a significant role in development cooperation, the EU member states lack the political will and courage to do so.

The EU Court of Justice rejected the UK's challenge to the introduction of an EU financial transactions tax which ministers have said will damage British firms. The Court described the UK's challenge as premature, since the details of the tax had not been finalised. Eleven member states are expected to reach an agreement on Tuesday.

The EU Regulation as regards the application of the transition period between the 10th EDF and the 11th EDF until the entry into force of the 11th EDF Internal Agreement was published.

The findings of the EU Economic and Financial Committee on the European Court of Auditors' special report on EU climate finance in the context of external aid was published. The main issues raised related to the statement by the Court on Fast Start Finance, coordination of climate finance, the proposed roadmap for scaling up of climate finance towards the Copenhagen Accord target of developed countries to collectively mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020, and joint programming.

Representatives of more than 150 civil society organisations, academics, media, government representatives and international organisations from the Southern Neighbourhood and Europe met in Brussels this week to launch a new initiative for the Southern Mediterranean aimed at an enhanced and more strategic engagement with civil society.

On 15 May, the European Commission will adopt a Communication on the role of the private sector in development in which it will define the future direction of EU policy and support to private sector development in its partner countries. The Communication will outline a new framework to ensure the highest development dividend from private sector operations in developing countries, for the benefit all members of society – particularly women and young people.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will pay official visits to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya from 4 to 11 May. During his stay in Ethiopia, Li will visit the headquarters of the African Union. The premier will also attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Abuja. This will be Li’s first visit to Africa as the Premier of China’s State Council, as well as his first foreign visit of 2014.

Next week the OECD Forum on Resilient Economies for Inclusive Societies takes place. It will exchange ideas and experiences on inclusive growth, quality jobs and trust.

The Annual EU Director-Generals' of Development meeting takes place Monday in Brussels to exchange views and coordinate development action.

Pacific Leaders are convening in Rarotonga on Monday to discuss their vision for advancing regionalism. On the agenda will be their strategy for strong political leadership to drive collective policy positions, manage shared resources, and support initiatives that contribute to sustainable, equitable development.

The Grow Africa Investment Forum in Abuja next week will discuss how to attract investments, meet the challenges and design for the 21st Century focusing on the role of the private sector in the year of food security and nutrition.

ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa will facilitate the session on regional value chains and markets at next week’s Dutch Foreign Ministry Food Security Exchange meeting. The meeting will discuss the advantages and challenges of regional cooperation/market integration and examples of regional value chains and perspectives of farmers and companies. ECDPM will also present some of the results of our work on regional value chains in East Africa in collaboration with COMESA.

Camilla Roca will attend the 7th Stakeholders Meeting of the Belgian Development Cooperation. The theme of this year’s meeting is the Belgian Development Cooperation and the Great Lakes region in Africa.

Anna Knoll will attend FriEnt’s Peacebuilding Forum 2014: Seizing Opportunities – Peacebuilding in a Complex World. The meeting will address and explore new developments and how governmental and civil society actors can seize the global momentum for peacebuilding and respond to current trends and dynamics.


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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