The ECDPM Weekly Compass is your reliable source on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific - in your mailbox Friday afternoons.


Editor's Pick

Could Dlamini-Zuma’s election revive EU-Africa relations?
During the African Union summit that ended on Monday, after 3 thrilling voting rounds marked by intrigue and shifting coalitions, South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected as Chairperson of the African Union Commission with the necessary 60% of votes. This new AU leadership might bring fresh opportunities to revive EU-Africa relations writes ECDPM’s Geert Laporte in a commentary on the Talking Points blog. It may “inject an audacious political agenda of cooperation with the EU based on a revised and more effective Joint Africa-EU Strategy and 1 billion EUR additional funding”, Laporte says. The next EU-Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in Brussels in the first semester of 2014, could be an opportunity to deepen the partnership.

Policy News

Partnership, not parenthood as a basis for Europe’s relations with a new Egypt
As EU High Representative Catherine Ashton visits Cairo this week, both Europe and Egypt will think about how they can mould a new relationship. “The EU must in turn create a new framework for cooperation with the country, but the last thing that Egyptians want is to be told what to do” warns Anthony Zielicki in a guest contribution on the Talking Points blog. Zielicki points out four measures the EU could take to support transition in the Arab world’s most populous state and establish a mutually beneficial relationship, “presenting itself as a partner as opposed to a parent”.

Cyprus and the world: how to make a difference?
Holding the rotating EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2012, Cyprus is chairing the Council’s Working Parties on Development Cooperation and ACP in this period. An ECDPM Briefing Note targeting Cypriot policy-makers and NGOs gives an overview of opportunities for them to engage in EU development cooperation and outlines possibilities for making a difference in this field. Key areas for Cypriot action are the on-going budget negotiations, aid effectiveness and policy coherence for development. Others interested in the state of affairs of EU development policy modernisation will also find this paper a useful orientation tool.

Post-2015 agenda needs to focus more on means, not just goals
A new report assessing progress in Africa towards the Millennium Development Goals finds that the MDGs have focused too much on development outcomes and too little on the means and processes to achieve the goals. Thus “the post-2015 agenda must provide broad indications of development enablers while taking note of country and regional specificities” the report, endorsed at the African Union Summit this week, underlines. Important enablers for the development of African countries include: enhanced peace and security, good governance, human rights, and a credible participatory process. Economic transformation and inclusive growth must underpin sustainable human and social development, the report concludes. “These efforts must, however, not detract Africa countries from the focus on making continued progress toward achieving goals by the 2015 target date”.

Donors should take the back seat in fragile states
The “New Deal for engagement in fragile states”, an outcome of last year’s High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, is a shared commitment to correct the trajectories of national and international efforts for peacebuilding and statebuilding. Fragile states led on the development of this policy document. Thus, when it comes to implementation of the New Deal donors should to take more of a back seat and let governments of affected countries themselves have the lead role, a new briefing paper by the International Peace Institute finds. The report also suggests that the global indicators that will track progress against the New Deal world wide should be accompanied by country-specific indicators tailored to individual country contexts.

How close are you to your government?
Comparing global indicators on localization and decentralization a new World Bank paper ranks countries based on their governments’ closeness to its people. It looks into various dimensions of decentralization and provides “an assessment of the impact of the silent revolution of the last three decades on moving governments closer to people to establish fair, accountable, incorruptible and responsive governance”. Data of the closeness index could have predicted the Arab Spring, a consequence of popular dissatisfaction with governance, the author of the paper underlines.

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No 118, 20 July 2012

Dear *|FNAME|*,
     In addition to electing its new leadership, the African Union Summit this week established a permanent High-Level African Trade Committee, comprised of the presidents of each of the eight regional economic blocs and the AU Commission Chairperson, to promote intra-African trade ahead of the 2017 deadline for creating a continental Free Trade Area. Foreign Ministers meeting ahead of the summit launched the African Solidarity Initiative to encourage African countries to assist post‐conflict countries in their reconstruction and development efforts.
     The President of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao, announced the new priority areas for Chinese-Africa cooperation at the Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation this week. China will, inter alia, provide 20 billion dollars of credit to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises, double the amount China promised in the first Forum meeting three years ago. China will also help African countries upgrade customs and commodity inspection facilities to promote intra-regional trade facilitation. An "Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security" will provide financial support for the AU peace-keeping missions in Africa. The final China-Africa Cooperation Declaration and Action Plan (2013-15) will be posted soon. A paper from South Africa’s Standard Bank issued just ahead of the meeting argues that China is beginning to demand more meaningful engagement from its African counterparts and that Africa must respond to China’s initiatives with regionally-based multilateral agendas. African economies must also use partnerships with China to boost overall capacity, competitiveness and trade and support regional integration and job creation, says the paper.
     The EU this week extended the mandate of the EU’s Special Representative to the African Union, Gary Quince, to 30 June 2012.
     The WTO’s World Trade Report 2012 published this week examines why governments use non-tariff measures and to what extent they may distort international trade. It focuses in particular on technical barriers to trade regarding standards for manufactured goods and sanitary and phytosanitary measures and domestic regulation in services. Related to this, a new Services Trade Restrictions Database created by the World Bank went live this week.  It shows that some of the poorest countries in the world, such as Rwanda and Senegal, are remarkably open in the area and reports on the investment implications of this. And the EU this week released its Progress Report on Trade and Investment Relationships with Key Economic Partners outlining the contribution these can make to a comprehensive strategy to return to growth and job creation in Europe.
     For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, see the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.

All the best,

Melissa Julian

Off The Track   

Inequality in America: Facts, Trends and International Perspectives
This book by Uri Dadush and others for Brookings provides a snapshot of the issues posed by the growing concentrations of income, focusing on the United States, but drawing on international comparisons to help set the context. It argues that “tackling the worst effects of inequality and re-establishing a measure of equal opportunity requires increased investment in crucial public goods”.


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