Monthly Highlights from ECDPM's Weekly Compass Update
GREAT insights • Volume 2 • Issue 4 • May-June 2013
Lessons learnt and recommendations in mediation and dialogue, Weekly Compass, No 147, 17 May 2013
The European Union has a long history and rich experience as an actor in mediation and dialogue from its recent high-level work regarding Kosovo-Serbia to supporting grassroots work in the Philippines. In two reports for the European External Action Service, ECDPM addresses lessons in EU mediation and dialogue and reviews the one-year pilot project by the EEAS Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation Instruments Division, to follow up on the Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities. The reports address the EU experience of a ‘glass half full’ and outline recommendations to take the work of EEAS Mediation further by making the most of partnerships and moving from ad hoc approaches to international best practice.
The dilemmas of Policy Coherence for Development, Weekly Compass, No 146, 26 April 2013
It has long been recognised that developing countries are affected by a mixture of aid, development policies and non-development policies. The promise to “development proof” these non-development areas by promoting Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), remains undiminished. Yet, a new ECDPM Discussion Paper comparing 6 EU Member States' PCD systems makes for sobering reading. The paper, originally commissioned by the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, notes that political leadership is often lacking and that too little investment is made to bring PCD into the day-to-day business of government – particularly where it concerns research on the impact of other donor policies on developing countries.
How can developing countries deliver better services?, Weekly Compass, No 145, 19 April 2013
Many developing countries are failing to provide adequate delivery of services in areas such as health, transport and sanitation. ODI believes the problem is that practitioners do not have clear guidelines on how to improve in these areas. Their new report on “the politics of delivery” suggests there is too much focus on ‘macropolicy’ rather than ‘downstream’ delivery issues. Sectoral aid and programmes don’t address the incentives faced by frontline service providers who have control over the provision of goods and services, says ODI. The way forward is to create a toolbox using diagnostic tools, conceptual frameworks and empirical research.
EU support to private sector in developing countries could be improved, Weekly Compass, No. 144, 12 April 2013
Over the period 2004-2010, the European Commission contracted, on behalf of the EU, €2.4bn of support to private sector development (PSD) in developing countries. The EU has developed a set of instruments for its PSD support that allow it to address comprehensively the range of PSD needs in different regions. There were however some weaknesses in terms of complementarities and synergies between different mechanisms and little coordination between bilateral programmes and regional programmes and investment facilities according to an evaluation published by the European Commission’s Development Directorate this week.
GREAT insights • Volume 2 • Issue 2 • February-March 2013
Is food security about producing more or eating well? Weekly Compass, Issue 137, 8 February 2013
Ensuring food security is about much more than increasing agricultural production and trade, argues ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa in a blog reporting from last week’s Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Assembly. Global food production already suffices to feed the world’s population and the latest figures show that more people are overweight than hungry. As economic growth brings about unhealthy diets, Africa is also facing a dramatic increase in obesity. Rampa emphasises that policymakers should be asking questions such as whether “linking farmers to markets” promotes food systems that are healthy, sustainable and help create jobs.
Building bridges between trade and agriculture: who needs to lay which brick, Weekly Compass, Issue 136, 1 February 2013
Weak coordination between agriculture and trade policymakers and the private sector poses a challenge to boosting intra-African trade and the development of regional agricultural markets. Continuous policy dialogue at the continental, regional and national levels could ensure consistent planning and more integrated action, a new joint Briefing Note by the Global Mechanism (UNCCD) and ECDPM recommends. It points to priority areas to leverage synergies and pool public and private resources channeled through the Aid for Trade initiative, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and related private sector initiatives. ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa, a co-author, presented the paper at the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development’s general assembly earlier this week.
Bilateral donor approaches to engaging the private sector, Weekly Compass, Issue 136, 1 February 2013
Donor policies do not promote space for developing countries to establish strong national ownership over the growth and private sector agenda according to a new paper from the North-South Institute and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. The paper identifies emerging themes in donor policies around growth and the private sector by comparing and contrasting different elements of donors’ strategies such as visions and assumptions, areas of focus, and budget sizes. The research also examines how donors see the role of the state, private sector actors, and other development actors.
2013 a crucial year to renew EU foreign policy, Weekly Compass, Issue 135, 25 January 2013
The European External Action Service (EEAS) needs to take charge of strategic planning and be bolder in taking the initiative to achieve common EU external policies according to a new paper by The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The paper calls on European players to use the upcoming review of the EEAS to increase coordination within, between and across EU institutions and policy areas to develop a policy that more than just the sum of national and EU foreign policies. It should build on national strengths, compensate for national weaknesses, and draw together inputs from the whole system. Another paper by FRIDE agrees, arguing that the added-value of EU foreign policy depends on what the Union stands for in global politics, and whether it is prepared to take action in a more pragmatic and effective fashion, adapting to a changing world.
More conditionality on the road ahead, Weekly Compass, Issue 134, 18 January 2013
Roads are essential for regional integration, economic growth and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa. They can support food security, for example, by connecting rural farmers to markets. Yet, nearly every third road financed by EC support in the region is in poor condition, according to a special report released by the European Court of Auditors this week. The European Development Fund needs to be more focused and the EC should attach more conditions to its support, encouraging partner countries to ensure appropriate road maintenance. In its reply, the Commission says it’s leverage depends on the commitment and capacity of its partners, the amounts invested and the policies pursued by other donors in the same sector.
GREAT insights • Volume 2 • Issue 1 • January 2013
ACP Secretary General to resign despite detailed summit plans. Weekly Compass, Issue 133, 11 January 2013
Senior delegates from 63 of the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, including some 15 Heads of State, attended the ACP Summit last December. The summit declaration highlights members’ determination to “stay united as a Group” and retain relevance by “enhancing the ACP-EU relationship as a unique North-South development cooperation model, while developing South-South and other partnerships.” A new working group will reflect on the response of the ACP Group to global challenges. Officials also decided to set up a high-level panel to advance trade negotiations with the EU. Shortly after the summit, the African Union announced that the ACP Group’s Secretary General had been appointed the African Union-UN Special Representative for Darfur. The ACP remains silent on this and has not yet named a successor.
Post-2015: who proposed what again? Weekly Compass, Issue 133, 11 January 2013
As the debate on what will replace the Millennium Development Goals after their expiry date in 2015 intensifies, the number of proposals for new targets is increasing. On its portal post2015.org, ODI tracks emerging proposals and provides an overview of ideas by sector in a handy table that is updated regularly. The growing list is not yet complete and, in an effort to capture all proposals, ODI invites readers whose ideas have not been included in the list to point to these.
What reforms matter for Africa in 2013. Weekly Compass, Issue 133, 11 January 2013
Continuous positive change in Africa has transformed the “hopeless continent” into a rising region in the past few years. Optimistic outlooks predict that many African economies will continue to grow in the near future, though the continent still faces numerous challenges. A new report by the Brookings Institution outlines what will be the key issues for 2013 and ways to leverage opportunities so that Africa “can continue the emerging momentum”. Top priorities for 2013 include employment policy reform, tackling the energy poverty gap, and broader issues of insecurity.
EC proposes to set up special body for blending development finance. Weekly Compass, Issue 132, 14 December 2012
Blending - the complementary use of grants and loans in external assistance to increase the volume of development finance - has emerged rapidly and is now common practice. This week, an expert group coordinated by the European Commission published its conclusions on the potential benefits of establishing an EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development as a way to improve the quality and efficiency of EU development finance. The report proposes the platform focus on reviewing and guiding existing blending mechanisms, streamlining cooperation, and developing new financial instruments. A European Think-Tanks Group study has shown that there is limited evidence base on positive effects of blending.
Budget support effective, but not suitable for pursuing major reform. Weekly Compass, Issue 132, 14 December 2012
For the past decade, donors have been channeling development assistance directly into the budgets of developing countries in an attempt to better support the priorities of partner governments. This can also give donors the opportunity to encourage reform through the accompanying policy dialogue. The Netherlands, a supporter of this aid form, ended most of its budget support due to irregularities in recipient countries and a decreasing national aid budget. An evaluation from the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry concludes that the budget support instrument contributed to economic growth and the extension of public services. Public finance management and democratic control improved as well. Budget support is not suitable for pursuing major reform, however, unless the recipient government takes ownership of it the report finds.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 10 • December 2012
How to achieve policy goals despite corruption. Weekly Compass, Issue 130, 30 November 2012
A new book from the World Bank looks at why corruption and a lack of good governance emerge and persist in many countries and which effect it has on achieving reform goals. The book provides the political economy tools necessary to understand and integrate the analysis of how political and social factors influence the success of policy goals. The publication also provides practical advice on how to organize and use these tools based on stakeholder mapping, which helps decide what reforms and projects are feasible given the circumstances.
EEAS: scepticism dissipates, but no full endorsement. Weekly Compass, Issue 129, 23 November 2012
There is general recognition that collective European foreign policy is preferable to individual member states “going it alone”, especially in their relations with major powers, according to a new study by the Centre for European Policy Studies. The paper, which includes articles from 9 EU Member States shows, however that many still question the capacity of the EEAS to act effectively, diplomatically, and strategically, when required to do so. It cites a French observation: “the bureaucratic machinery obviates ambition and the development of strategic policies; and the right expertise is sometimes lacking.”
Aid cuts on EU leaders’ agenda next week. Weekly Compass, Issue 128, 16 November 2012
A leaked document reveals that European Council President Van Rompuy this week proposed huge cuts to EU development aid. Analysis by the advocacy group ONE shows an 11 percent decrease to the European Development Fund and a 9 percent cut to the external spending section of the budget. Both reductions are higher than those in all other areas of EU spending. Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE said “Next week, [EU] leaders [attending the summit on the future EU budget] must be prepared to stand up and fight for these life-saving funds.” According to Laura Mayer on ECDPM’s Talking Points blog, cuts will also have implications for the current process of programming EU development instruments and differentiating levels and types of aid to partner countries.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 9 • November 2012
Natural resources: from curse to purse. Weekly Compass, Issue 127, 26 October 2012
Africa’s current resource boom is at the centre of high-level discussions at this week’s 8th African Development Forum addressing the challenge of how to govern and harness natural resources for development. This will also be a central element of the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States meeting on Global Commodities in Brussels next week. ECDPM experts are participating in both meetings and Isabelle Ramdoo released her new paper ‘From Curse to Purse: Making extractive resources work for development.’ The Guardian cited Ramdoo explaining that Africa must diversify its economy to save itself from resource curse.
Regional action to boost food security in the Horn of Africa. Weekly Compass, Issue 127, 26 October 2012
Since the 2010 food and drought crisis in the Horn of Africa, a number of initiatives have been launched to address food insecurity and strengthen the region’s resilience to disasters. One of them is the regional Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) for north-east Africa, led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. A new ECDPM paper - building on series of studies mapping regional CAADP progress across Africa - presents early lessons on the complexities associated with using CAADP as a framework for regional action on food security. It highlights how important it is to clarify the links and possible synergies with other initiatives and recommends that a ‘roadmap’ identifying complementary actions and investment areas to boost the region’s food security could be useful.
‘Thorny issues’ in support to weak civil society. Weekly Compass, Issue 127, 26 October 2012
In fragile situations, state-society relations are at the core of the transition out of fragility, and civil society has an important role to play. It can contribute to a broader ownership of national development plans, contributes to domestic accountability and state-society relations, and fills a service gap. Perhaps even more importantly, civil society channels societal dynamics and can foster change, explains ECDPM’s Frauke de Weijer in a new discussion paper. Her research looks at how international support affects the ability of an often weak civil society to perform these functions and addresses some of the ‘thorny issues’ that arise from external engagement in fragile states.
Development ministers meet on MDGs, finance. Weekly Compass, Issue 126, 19 October 2012
At Monday’s EU Council meeting of Development Ministers, several stressed the importance of maintaining poverty eradication as the focus of the future development agenda, while addressing gaps in the existing MDGs framework, such as sustainable growth or fragility and conflict. In relation to financing for development, the EU, inter alia, decided to incorporate tax administration into policy dialogue with partner countries, support reform and help to combat illicit capital flows. Council conclusions also call for mainstreaming of civil society in all areas of cooperation. EU Member States also agreed that they should coordinate better in the programming process of future cooperation to ensure policy coherence for development and support for social protection.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 8 • October 2012
Smart EU support to decentralization. Weekly Compass, no 123, 28 September 2012
The European Commission is embracing an increasingly political approach to development cooperation that recognises the crucial role of developing countries’ local authorities in ensuring domestic accountability. It is preparing a document to frame EU support to decentralisation. To ensure that policy-making responds to the realities on the ground, the EC organised a four-day seminar with EU delegations’ representatives, facilitated by ECDPM. The seminar report was published this week and provides important strategic and operational messages for the EU on how to provide smart support to decentralisation
ECDPM at the EDDs: Confronting inequality. Weekly Compass, Issue 122, 21 September 2012
Over 70% of the world's poor live in middle income countries like China, India, Indonesia or Nigeria. As such, high socio-economic inequality is detrimental to poverty reduction, economic growth and political stability. Thus, promoting “inclusive” growth has to go hand in hand with addressing inequality. A European Think Tanks Group (ODI, DIE, ECDPM and FRIDE) panel at this year’s European Development Days will debate how the EU could response to rising inequality in developing countries. On the blog on the European Think-Tanks Group’s new webpage researchers from all institutes write about how public policies and private investment could target distributional issues.
Addressing the "dark side of globalisation". Weekly Compass, no 122, 21 September 2012
Fragile states are particularly vulnerable to the dynamics and risks involved in the process of globalisation because of their generally weak governance systems and/or low capacity. The OECD DAC’s International Network on Conflict and Fragility has opened a consultation to complete its study “Think global, act global: Confronting global factors that influence conflict and fragility”. It proposes nine entry points where the international community can address some of the negative global influences on conflict and fragility more effectively and coherently, such as regulation to prevent transnational organised crime and illicit markets in military goods and services.
“Everything that comes out of Political Economy Analysis is dynamite”. Weekly Compass, no 120, 7 September 2012
In an interview with capacity4dev.eu, ECDPM’s Jean Bossuyt, a member the European Commission’s Political Economy Analysis (PEA) Team in Senegal, outlines some of the key aspects of the EC’s PEA methodology. “Political Economy Analysis’ purpose is to better understand where the reform processes come from, where the dynamics come from, who are the ‘blocking’ actors, etc.,” he says. “Everything that comes out of Political Economy Analysis is dynamite, so you have to be sure that you can use it properly and politically.” He considers the first important step is to ensure that the process has the full support of the EU Delegation. Secondly, the objectives of the evaluation must be clearly defined and a multi-disciplinary team, with a mix of international and local expertise, should undertake the process. “The initial PEA cannot solve all problems, but can provide a better overview of what really drives reforms and this can be used later on, in a sequenced way, to perhaps do more targeted PEAs, for instance in a sector,” Bossuyt concludes.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 6 • August 2012
Cyprus and the world: how to make a difference? Weekly Compass, no 118, 20 July 2012
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.
EC report: despite crisis EU must deliver on aid commitments. Weekly Compass, no 117, 13 July 2012
As a whole, the EU has kept up progress on its aid pledges, but the situation differs greatly between Member States, the EU Accountability Report 2012 on Financing for Development finds. Together with this report, the EU published a Communication proposing further action to reach agreed EU aid targets, such as spending 0,7% of GNI for development by 2015. In view of the fact that domestic resources mobilisation, not aid flows, is the largest source of development finance, Europe is “considering ways to provide greater emphasis to this area, notably as part of budget support operations”. Innovative financing, such as blending, is seen as “essential”.
Swazi farmers could again be hard hit by EU CAP reform. Weekly Compass, no 117, 13 July 2012
When the EU reformed its sugar trade regime in 2006, it reduced the reference price for sugar by 36%. This drop affected sugarcane producers in the 18 ACP countries, which had preferential access to the EU. Swaziland, a significant sugar exporter whose economy is highly dependent on the industry was hard hit, experiencing labour losses and welfare rollback. To cushion this impact, the EU agreed an Aid for Trade Programme - the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol. A new ECDPM Discussion Paper analysing Swaziland’s experience reveals deficiencies in the practices of EU aid delivery. It warns that the upcoming reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, comprising further changes of sugar policy, could undermine the positive effects of the Aid for Trade programme.
Private sector and development: common or conflicting interests? Weekly Compass, no 116, 6 July 2012
“Profit and developmental objectives can be obtained together, but more needs to be understood about where the alignment of interests takes place” explain ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers and Anna Rosengren in a new discussion paper on the private sector’s role in development. But before we can identify common interests, it is important to be clear about what we mean by "engaging the private sector". The paper distinguishes between “private sector development” - focusing on domestic economies of poor countries - and engaging the “private sector for development” - making international business contribute to inclusive growth. Although there are overlaps, these two forms of engagement operate through different channels
and thus have different practical implications and impacts. A clear understanding of reasons behind past successes and failures should form the basis of ongoing policy discussions.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 5 • July 2012
EU weak on early warning systems for conflict prevention. Weekly Compass, No 114, 22 June 2012
Although the EU adopted a conflict prevention agenda and has shown a lot of interest in early warning systems, it is struggling with putting this into practice effectively, finds a new report by the NGO Saferworld. Data from two case studies in Africa and Asia show that “there is no shared understanding across the EU of what its early warning system is and what its purpose should be” and that “the EU does not conduct systematic analyses to inform its programming process or political dialogue”. A set of timely recommendations proposed by Saferworld could help the EU to improve its practice so it can tackle the root causes of conflict more proactively once the newly established European External Action Service will be fully up to speed.
Poor countries likely to be hit hard by Euro crisis. Weekly Compass, No 114, 22 June 2012
A breakup of the Euro zone could cost developing countries around 25 billion EUR in lost trade and foreign investment, according to a new estimate by Oxfam. This amount is equivalent to almost a quarter of the global aid budget and its loss would pose an additional challenge to poor countries. To mitigate the negative effects, Oxfam called on the G20 that met this week to implement a five-point policy programme, which also includes the introduction of a global financial transaction tax. In another recent paper on the same topic ODI provided a set of policy recommendations to developing countries on how to cope with the impacts of the European debt crisis.
Will more money add value to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy? Weekly Compass, No 113, 15 June 2012
Negotiations on the next EU budget have put the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) under intense scrutiny. Despite the existing commitment to the strategy on both sides, there is wide consensus that it struggled with delivering on many of its ambitions. One of the reasons for this is the lack of an ad hoc financial instrument. This has prompted the European Commission to propose a 1 billion EUR envelope - the so-called Pan-African Programme (PAP) - to support the implementation of the strategy. While this proposal reasserts the EU’s faith in the JAES, it prompted a debate on its future. In a Briefing Note, ECDPM’s Faten Aggad-Clerx and Nicola Tissi analyse whether this new financial envelope would help to revitalize the strategy and highlight some broader issues EU member states should consider in the negotiations of the PAP.
Private profit for public good. Weekly Compass, No 112, 8 June 2012
As global aid flows stagnate, several development agencies have suggested a dramatic scaling up of public finance devoted to supporting private sector investments. By 2015, the amount of donor support to the private sector is expected to exceed $100 billion – making up almost one third of external public finance to developing countries. A new report by Eurodad assesses grant and loan trends in the portfolios of some of the largest multilateral and bilateral development agencies. It looks at which types of companies are benefiting the most from public aid and how development institutions ensure they support responsible investments that contribute to equitable and sustainable development.
Aid for Trade and innovative financing. Weekly Compass, No 111, 25 May 2012
The aim of the multilateral Aid for Trade (AfT) initiative is to channel aid resources towards interventions enabling developing countries to “trade their way out of poverty”. Since its inception in 2005, the aid context has changed and the international development community is now looking beyond traditional aid, seeking to combine it with ‘innovative’ forms of finance, including greater levels of private funding. A new ECDPM Discussion Paper explores this shift and the relationship between Aid for Trade and such new forms of finance. It finds that AfT is an area that is well-suited to such an approach, and some useful models are emerging in infrastructure or agriculture finance, for instance. At the same time, innovative forms of funding have important policy implications which need to be explored further.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 4 • June 2012
Conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the EU’s new budget. Weekly Compass, No 110, 11 May 2012
Current negotiations on how the EU will spend its future external aid budget offer an opportunity to improve the bloc’s contribution to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
A new ECDPM Briefing Note provides recommendations for a comprehensive approach ensuring that long-term objectives of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as well as means to achieve them, will be enshrined in all future EU external relations financial instruments. The paper, of which key elements were presented to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this week, focuses particularly on the Instrument for Stability. It calls for swifter procedures and for evaluating the impact of the Instrument to ensure accountability and learning.
Away from aid as financial transfer, towards recognition of power and institutions. Weekly Compass, No 110, 11 May 2012
“Development outcomes in poor countries depend on the political incentives facing political leaders” is the opening line of a new publication entitled “The Political Economy of development in Africa”, which was published jointly by 5 international research programmes last month. They find that although clientelism usually undermines economic transformation, there are exceptions to this, both at the macro level and in particular productive and social sectors. This insight can inform new thinking on how to use aid better in generally difficult circumstances, helping actors in development cooperation to overcome the collective-action problems that prevent them moving ahead, according to the authors.
COMESA’s approach to Aid for Trade reviewed. Weekly Compass, No 109, 4 May 2012
In recognition of the growing attention to Aid for Trade (AfT) and of the potential usefulness of regional initiatives, countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) adopted a regional AfT strategy in 2009. The COMESA Secretariat commissioned ECDPM to undertake a review of this strategy to examine the region’s efforts and the challenges it faces. A new joint COMESA – ECDPM publication presents the review’s findings and provides recommendations for steps to improve the AfT strategy. It notes progress on developing holistic support packages covering investments in infrastructure and trade facilitation instruments along trade corridors, and on creating programmes assisting countries in adjustment to trade liberalization. Stepping up implementation of AfT programmes is identified as a main challenge that COMESA needs to address, the study finds.
Level of EU aid to low-income countries “unacceptable”. Weekly Compass, No 108, 27 April 2012
The UK Parliament’s International Development Committee today issued a report on EU Development Assistance. It finds that, overall, the European Commission has improved its performance over the last decade and notes that it has recently proposed further improvements to development policy in the “Agenda for Change”. But the report also points out that only 46% of aid goes to low income countries, an amount the UK Committee Chair says is “unacceptable”. Parliamentarians urge the UK Government to press other EU Member States - Germany, France and Italy in particular - to meet the obligations they made on the 0.7% ODA target. The report also notes that the UK’s Department for International Development should become a champion for policy coherence for development. It further argues that incorporating the European Development Fund into the EU budget in 2014 is premature and should be postponed until 2020.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 3 • May 2012
Member States’ positions on the proposed 2014-2020 EU Budget Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
The EU institutions and Member States are currently negotiating the EU’s budget for the period 2014-2020. On 26 March, the European Commission’s proposal for the budget was discussed for the first time at the level of the Council of the European Union. Each Member State had 3 minutes to convey its priorities. ECDPM’s most recent Briefing Note reports back and analyses these statements, particularly those with a focus on EU External Action and the European Development Fund. Questions whether there will be cuts in development spending or if the European Development Fund will loose its special status outside the regular budget can’t be answered at this stage, but the Council will resume discussions on 24 April.
Spotlight on new blending mechanism Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
Blending, the complementary use of grants and loans, could increase the available volume of development finance. To improve the quality and efficiency of EU external cooperation blending mechanisms and financial instruments, the European Commission proposed to establish an “EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development”. A public consultation is currently taking place on this. ECDPM, as part of the European Think-Tanks Group, published a report on blending, which points out that there is only a limited evidence-base on its effects. The European Parliament’s Development Committee will discuss EU regional blending facilities with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank next week.
Reprogramming EU development cooperation: who will do what? Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
Two years until the new financial regulations for external action will enter into force, the EU has launched the programming process setting how and where the 57.57 billion EUR budget proposed for development cooperation will be used. In preparation for the first step of the planning and budget cycle, detailed responsibilities have now been agreed amongst EU stakeholders. This process is of strong importance to developing countries as it will determine what the development assistance resources will be spent on from 2014 to 2020. A new ECDPM Discussion Paper analyses the process of programming the EU’s development assistance by looking at the roles that the different EU institutions, partner countries, as well as EU member states may play. The authors, Simone Gortz and Niels Keijzer, point to key moments and analyses the changes foreseen.
Getting ready for take off: boosting agriculture and food security initiatives Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
It is almost a decade since the launch of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003. Since then, this initiative has recorded both successes and challenges at national and regional levels. However, while all African Regional Economic Communities recognize the need to increase efforts around agricultural development and food security, the manner in which action is taken, and degree of progress differs from region to region. Building a series of mapping studies, which assessed CAADP progress by region, a new ECDPM Briefing Note entitled "Getting ready for take off: Lessons for regional CAADP" provides a synthesis of crosscutting messages and challenges from all regions. It provides ideas on how to make regional CAADP more effective and helps to identify concrete actions for faster progress, which could be useful for stakeholder discussions during the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform meeting on 3-4 May.
ACP-EU relations at a critical juncture Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
The Cotonou Agreement, the largest North-South partnership between the EU and the ACP countries, will expire in 2020. “In political terms, this seems an eternity” Geert Laporte writes in a new ECDPM Briefing Note, but in view of economic and political changes world wide “it is not too early to open the debate on the future of the partnership”. Obviously, the EU will remain interested in Africa and to a lesser extent also in the Caribbean and the Pacific, but does it want to continue working with the ACP as a group of about 80 countries with increasingly differing ambitions and levels of development? How committed are the ACP to keeping their group and the ACP-EU Partnership alive? What new common interests, beyond aid can be identified between the two groups of countries? Laporte’s Briefing Note gives an updated overview of the state of this debate, points to major challenges on the way ahead and proposes a number of concrete steps for a constructive and well-informed process.
Impact assessments a weak link in policy coherence Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
Donors should better take into account the views of developing countries in order for Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) to have a positive impact, according to the report of a recent meeting of OECD Focal Points on PCD published this week. Participants called for more concrete targets and evidence to measure the impact of policy incoherence and to provide the basis for decision-making. Niels Keijzer presented ECDPM’s work on potential indicators for measuring PCD impact. Findings show that better defining objectives for PCD can improve political accountability and provide a basis for clear result-oriented action plans. But this requires research to explore the actual effects of OECD members’ policies on developing countries, Keijzer said.
Billions less for development? Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
In a response to the economic crisis in the EU, the current overarching trend is a decrease in, or freeze of, development budgets despite commitments to the contrary. In addition to this, there is a trend where Member States wish to repatriate spending to the national level, particularly those who are net contributors to the EU budget. Although the European Commission has proposed an increase in the total amount for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), some EU Member States are advocating for no real growth in any area of EU expenditure which would include the EDF. How would efforts to impose “austerity” on overall EU expenditure possibly affect the amounts available for EU’s largest development financing instrument? ECDPM’s Ulrika Kilnes explores the impact of different of “zero growth” scenarios in a new Briefing Note and finds that they could in practice mean billions less aid to ACP countries.
GREAT insights • Volume 1 • Issue 2 • March-April 2012
The relation between roads and poverty Weekly Compass, No. 105, 23 March 2012
Infrastructure, mostly seen as a responsibility of the public sector, lacks funding in many developing countries and private investments are often far from sufficient to fill the financing gap. A new report published by the Private Infrastructure Development Group reviews how support from Development Finance Institutions helps with infrastructure funding and provision. It also analyses its impact on development outcomes and finds that while Development Finance Institutions seek to enhance economic growth, they do “far less” to directly impact poverty. The report also provides recommendations for how to better target infrastructure investment to be pro-development.
BRIC’s aid reduces poverty, but debt sustainability is a concern Weekly Compass, No. 104, 16 March 2012
The infrastructure focus of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) development financing has benefited Low Income Countries by alleviating key bottlenecks, boosting export competitiveness and making goods and services more affordable to consumers according to this paper IMF working paper by Nkunde Mwase and Yongzheng Yang. Continued cooperation can increase economic growth and reduce poverty in the long run, but there is concern over debt sustainability, pace of employment creation, labor practice, and competition with local firms.
Arab youth on Chinese payroll Weekly Compass, No. 102, 2 March 2012
One of the root causes of the uprisings in North Africa last year was unemployment among a large part of the population, the youth. Their unemployment rate in the region is 24%, and notably higher than in other parts of Africa where only 12% of young people don’t have a job. Dealing with this problem requires coherent national socio-economic policies by North African governments and one way of facing the challenge is securing ‘smart’ foreign direct investment - FDI that brings economic benefits and also guarantees job creation and skills transfer. A new paper published by the African Development Bank and co-authored by ECDPM’s Faten Aggad-Clerx looks at the role of China in reducing youth unemployment in North Africa. Two case studies from Algeria and Egypt provide a comparison on how Chinese investments have contributed to job creation in both countries. The paper provides policy recommendations to North African governments.
“Africa can embark on industrialization, just as China and India” Weekly Compass, No. 102, 2 March 2012
An issues paper by the African Union Commission and UNECA, prepared for the upcoming annual meeting of African Finance Ministers, examines key institutional and policy factors that are shaping Africa’s economic growth. It highlights the opportunities for the continent to become “a pole of global growth”, but to unleash this potential, African countries need to effectively address a set of constraints. Urgent and determined action of leaders is needed, for example when it comes to providing critical infrastructure or human capital development, the paper says.
GREAT Insights • Volume 1 • Issue 1 • January-February 2012
Accelerating growth through improved intra-Africa trade Weekly Compass, No. 99, 27 January 2012
At the request of the African Union, African scholars from the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution put forward policy recommendations for increasing intra-African trade. The report comprises a series of policy briefs that address the major barriers to increasing intraregional trade, namely, economic diversification, conflict, regional integration, infrastructure, and border issues….
Building a sustainable future for Africa’s extractive industry: From vision to action Weekly Compass, No. 96, 16 December 2011
ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo attended the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development in Addis Ababa this week. The conference brought together African Ministers and experts in mining and natural resources and development partners to agree an action plan for the implementation of the African Mining Vision. This vision aims to ensure transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socioeconomic development……
Policy coherence must move beyond “do no harm” Weekly Compass, No. 97, 13 January 2012
More pro-active integration of development objectives into EU policies, beyond simply attempting to lower negative impacts of different policies on Southern countries, is needed according to the recently published European Union 2011 Report on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). The report self-critically assesses progress in implementing EU commitments to PCD in areas such as trade and security……
Global economic crisis with new countries affected looms Weekly Compass, No. 98, 20 January 2012
Two new flagship reports released by the World Bank and the United Nations predict that global economic growth and international trade will continue to slow sharply in 2012. Both organizations have downgraded their forecasts and warn that the risk for another severe global economic downturn remains…..
African Union to focus on trade, peace and governance in 2012 Weekly Compass, No. 98, 20 January 2012
Inter-African trade, which is high on the agenda at the upcoming African Union summit, will not remain the AU’s only priority in 2012. According to a report in Africa Review the ambitious list of priorities comprises efforts to boost the continent’s global role, and plans to review the AU’s international partnerships in order “to ensure they bring greater benefits to Africa”……
EC releases overdue plans for trade and development Weekly Compass, No. 99, 27 January 2012
While not putting forward new legislative proposals, the European Commission’s Trade and Development Communication, published today, sets out how the EU's trade, investment and development policies could support developing countries’ domestic reforms. The Communication calls for increased "differentiation" of EU policies and focused support for Least Developed Countries and “other countries most in need”. It puts emphasis on how domestic reform and good governance are necessary to make trade work for development……
Networks key to successful agriculture innovation in Africa Weekly Compass, No. 99, 27 January 2012
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa undertook 21 case studies in sub-Saharan Africa to identify how different stakeholders can work together to foster research and innovation to improve the livelihoods of Africa’s smallholder farmers. Several challenges to effective collaboration exist, including a lack of capacity or willingness to work together and weak institutional structures……
Developing countries can become middle-income countries within two generations Weekly Compass, No. 99, 27 January 2012
World Bank chief Economist Justin Yifu Lin sets out the “third wave” of development thinking in his book “New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy”. His neocalssical framework emphasizes that the market is the basic mechanism for resource allocation, but that governments must play an active role in facilitating structural changes…..
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