21 May 2014

infographic: 10 key facts on EU aid programmes

This week's infographic comes from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) collecting ten key things to know on the EU's aid programme. Use these graphics to find out more about its size, importance and spending priorities. 

This infographic originally appeared here: http://visual.ly/10-things-know-about-eu-aid

15 May 2014


Speech by Juma Mwapachu, President of the Society for International Development

'The major source of injustice today is to be found not so much in a condition of general scarcity as in the fact of diminishing marginal utility of man as such, in the fact that millions of people find themselves idle and useless, often in their very prime of youth.' (Rajni Kothari, 1977, Redesigning the Development Strategy)

When we met in Nairobi in June last year the theme of my Opening Address was the state of interesting times that coincided with our meeting. First, was the historic general elections that had taken place in Kenya and which had brought that country back together after the tragic post-elections violence of 2007. Unfortunately, the results of that violence continue to haunt Kenya and have taken a traumatic turn for the new national top leadership as it faces trial in the International Criminal Court here in The Hague.

Worse, the implications of the trial have become a major source of fracture in relations between the African Union and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, by extension, the UN Security Council on whose mandate the ICC exercises its jurisdictional authority. Little wonder that the Fourth EU-Africa Summit Declaration of 4th April this year records the commitment 'to enhance political dialogue on international criminal justice, including the issue of universal jurisdiction.'

Second, was the trend in the performance of the East African Community region, the fastest economic growth area in Africa in recent years but equally with the fastest growing population that exhibits a huge youth bulge, growing unemployment especially amongst the youth and women, declining education standards, food insecurity partly driven by climate change factors and partly because science is yet to be adopted to boost agricultural productivity and serious cases of a whole set of inequalities, social, economic and political.

Third, was the growing influence of China in the region sparking a new wave of international cooperation spearheaded mainly by the United States and Japan. The lingering question is what role citizens play over such thrusts and outcomes in international cooperation? Could it be that emerging resource nationalisms in Africa are probably rooted in sheer disconnections between the political elite and the citizens? Has democracy and good governance been hijacked by a few political leaders for their own self-interests?

Fourth, I offered a snapshot of the state of security in the region, recalling the genocide in Rwanda whose 20 years history was globally commemorated last week on 7th April. It would now seem that barbaric human atrocities never seem to end as so well orchestrated by the on-going Syrian situation.

I had remarked last year that these tragic lessons present for SID the opportunity to open up spaces for national, regional and global dialogue and conversations around the collective desire of promoting inclusive social change and transformations. The aim being to heal wounds and catalyse new vistas of human tolerance, solidarity, cohesion and shared quests for common prosperity.

As we meet here today, some of the issues and questions that I had raised last year still linger on. In fact, some of them, though examined from the narrow perspective of the East African region, have taken a more serious posture at the global level. The challenge of inequality stands out above the rest. Hazel Henderson recently wrote an article titled 'Facing Up To Inequality: New Approaches Beyond Economism' in which she postulates as follows:
'Grim recent studies reveal the shocking increase in inequality globally, both between and within countries. Anti-poverty economic policies since World War II have done little, except for their notable success in China.

Worldwide, the share of nations' productivity increases going to employees is shrinking-while the share to capital owners, financial firms, corporations and their top executives as mushroomed. Old economic textbooks remedies for rising inequality still call for more growth. Yet economic growth is slowing in most mature economies. In still growing China, India, Brazil and other emerging countries, the growth remedies lead to greater inequality as well as destroying traditional livelihoods polluting vital common resources: air, water, forests and bio-diversity.'

The author proceeds to point out that 'structural unemployment and jobless growth are accelerating inequality.' This position reminds me of a 1977 book article contribution by the celebrated Indian social scientist, the late Rajni Kothari, titled, 'Redesigning the Development Strategy' in which Professor Kothari posits that 'The major source of injustice today is to be found not so much in a condition of general scarcity as in the fact of diminishing marginal utility of man as such, in the fact that millions of people find themselves idle and useless, often in their very prime of youth.'

It is a realistic representation of cruel conditions that obtain in many countries today. In South Africa, for example, the surge in social and political tension and instability, interposed by frequent mine workers' strikes, is not because Nelson Mandela, the architect and symbol of a tolerant social order and a sense of a possible future of hope for the majority South Africans, is no more. Rather, it is because two decades after the unshackling of apartheid, poverty and inequality are now more pronounced and brought into the open by the democratic environment. Moreover, the wealth divide along racial lines, minus for a few black billionaires who have benefitted from the Black Economic Empowerment Programme, has taken a more heightened posture.

Whilst the inequality situation is extreme in South Africa, it is the pervasive disease that devours most African countries. SID's State of East Africa Report 2013 has exposed the depth of inequalities in the East African Community countries, manifested in heightened levels of joblessness, income inequalities, high levels of malnutrition, generally poor quality of education and high levels of illiteracy, minimum power and resources by citizens to hold governments to account reflective of unequal distribution of opportunity and rewards of growth.
It may seem like a paradox, but inequality is equally proving to be a condition of serious gravity in the rich countries as well. In his magisterial book, 'The Price of Inequality-How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future', Nobel Laureate, Joseph E. Stigliz argues that 'Unemployment - the inability of the market to generate jobs for so many citizens-is the worst failure of the market, the greatest source of inefficiency, and a major cause of inequality'. Stiglitz visualises social cohesion being transformed into class warfare in countries like the United States.

Overall, the challenge of inequalities in Africa has cost some governments to lose political power. I need not go into the causes of the Arab Spring because I believe that it is now common knowledge that high levels of unemployment, especially among the youth, coupled with declining wages in relation to real costs of living, lay at the heart of those citizen- managed and directed revolutions.

Inevitably, there is now serious concern in many countries that if not quickly and effectively addressed, inequalities could soon become the main source of social and political instability in Africa. As Professor Stiglitz cautions in his book above referred to, 'when the social contract gets broken, social cohesion quickly erodes.'

The second lingering issue centres on the state of international cooperation. In many respects the struggle for investment and aid supremacy in Africa and especially in the East African region continues with the Chinese still in the forefront though the US is increasingly promoting its private firms to invest in the power sector. Paradoxically, Chinese investments remain focused in metals and in supporting transport infrastructure development with little interest in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

Where traditional international cooperation seems destined to suffer is in the area of multilateral trade agreements. Emerging Asia, especially China, India and somewhat the Arab Gulf States, are becoming the major trading partners of sub-Saharan Africa.

As a result, it would not be strange to see a steady erosion in interest from SSA countries over the WTO Doha Development Agenda and the Economic Partnership Agreements. The deemed traditional mutual gains out of trade between sub-Saharan Africa and the European Union may slowly become skewed much as countries that trade with the EU in cut flowers and frozen lake fillet fish may suffer loss in exports returns.

However, there are moves towards exports diversification that respond to resultant downsides in this trade paradigm. Even then, sub-Saharan Africa countries would have to seriously assess the broader negative impact that may take place beyond trade as a result of such shifts in trading relationships.
In particular, the strong partnership that has been built between the EU and Africa in the peace and security architecture born out of the Lisbon Summit Agreements in 2007 may prove to be quite onerous.

Recently I have read a book by the British politician, Liam Fox titled, 'Rising Tides-Facing Challenges of a New Era' and he makes one very profound statement about the changing dynamic of world order. Mr Fox asserts:
'How is the world likely to evolve? I have thought for some time that if the twentieth century was the era of the block-the economic block, the military block and the trade block-then the twenty-first century is likely to be the era of the organic solution. We will need to find new partnerships, new alliances, and new mechanisms to deal with a whole new range of challenges. We will need to develop new levers to pull in a wide variety of situations-the age of the one-size-fits-all solution is, I think, behind us. Should this fill us with dread? Not at all. In fact, I believe there are reasons to be optimistic about our ability to create novel solutions to our common problems.'

At a time when global society had settled down to accepting a new world order after the fall of the Berlin war and the territorial re-configuration of the Soviet Union and Russia becoming integrated in the G-8, there are creeping signs of a return to cold war rhetoric and politics. Russia's military intervention into Ukrainian territory and the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Southern Ukraine ostensibly following a plebiscite in Crimea supporting unification with Russia has serious implications for global peace and security.

Coming in the wake of two costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is unfortunately left weary. The EU has also gone through three to four years of serious economic stress and turmoil and its political strength has weakened. Moreover, the global economy, especially of the advanced economies, is generally experiencing a below par economic growth with high levels of unemployment and stark inequalities.

It is an environment that is not conducive to supporting ideal levels of international cooperation.

Juma V. Mwapachu is President of SID and former Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC). This was his keynote speech delivered to the Society for International Development’s Governing Council.

Photo courtesy of NASA

The views represented are those of the authors, and may not represent those of ECDPM

This speech was originally published by the Society for International Development

5 May 2014

Africa: an increasingly powerful post-2015 player?

The common African post-2015 position and the continent’s role in the negotiations

by Saskia Hollander

In the past few years, Africa’s economic self-confidence on the global stage has grown. A number of African countries are experiencing remarkable levels of economic growth and – due to newly established partnerships with emerging economies like China, Brazil and India – have become less dependent on traditional aid flows from the North. The continent’s increased economic self-assurance resonates in the post-2015 process, where African countries form a strong alliance with other developing countries in the G77. Africa’s successful effort to draft a common post-2015 strategy once more underscores its footprint in the post-2015 process. The question however remains whether, in the coming period, internal differences and diversity will throw a spanner in the works. 1

The process of formulating the MDGs has been widely criticized for being a donor-oriented and donor-led exercise, characterized by a lack of voice and ownership by developing countries. To get their voice heard and integrated in the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda, African countries recently tried to close ranks and have presented a Common African Position (CAP), launched in March this year. With the aim of strengthening African countries’ bargaining position both in the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the international negotiations starting in September this year, the CAP marks a changed relationship between the North and the South and Africa’s  increased self-confidence in a changed global context.

Redefining old relations

Africa is no longer seen as a ‘lost’ continent, and despite cross-country variation, many countries, such as Nigeria and Angola, are doing remarkably well in terms of GDP growth. The continent’s exclusive dependency on the North, in terms of aid and trade, is eroding as emerging powers like China, Brazil and India increasingly have a finger in the pie.

In this context, it is not surprising that a revitalization and redefinition of the EU-Africa relationship was once again the main objective of the fourth EU-Africa summit held on 2-3 April. While Africa-EU relations are still of vital importance for the continent, the objective of moving from a donor-recipient relationship to one based on equal partnership, is clearly overshadowed by African criticism on EU sanctions and conditionality, and ongoing disagreements over the signing of the European Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). With more partners to choose from in the global arena, Africa is likely to see its bargaining power in international negotiations becoming enhanced.

The end of business as usual

Africa’s increased self-confidence also marks its role in the post-2015 process. Business as usual, whereby goals and targets are simply devised for developing countries, can no longer be the point of departure. The African Union (AU) has urged its member states to use the CAP as a negotiation instrument, enabling Africa to play a pro-active role, and to prevent its ambitions from being swallowed up by the traditional players. Africa asserts that it knows what is good for the continent, and no longer accepts that the advanced countries dictate its development path. In this, it surely sees its bargaining power strengthened by last year’s report of the High Level Panel (HLP), which already formulated a vision similar to the African post-2015 strategy, and the OWG’s focus area document, launched in February this year, which largely reflects the priorities outlined in the CAP. Also important in this respect is the fact that a significant number of post-2015 positions are held by African officials: the HLP was co-chaired by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the OWG is co-chaired by Kenyan Permanent Representative Macharia Kamau, and the Experts Committee on Sustainable Development Financing is co-chaired by Nigerian Mansur Muhtar.

A joint African strategy

However, despite African countries’ assessment of the strategic value of adopting a common position, drafting the CAP has proven a daunting task, given the wide variety of nations that make up the African continent. The process of formulating the CAP started relatively late. During the 21st AU Summit in Ethiopia in May 2013, the AU established a High Level Committee (HLC), consisting of 10 heads of state 2, and chaired by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The HLC was mandated to finalize a demand-driven joint African post-2015 perspective and to build regional and intercontinental alliances around it. In drafting the CAP, the HLC committed itself to include the outcomes of the various national, regional and continental consultations held in Africa. 3Eight months later, at the 22nd AU Summit in January 2014, the CAP was adopted by the AU General Assembly and the final text was launched at the end of March. The CAP consists of six pillars on which the SDGs should be built:

  1. Structural economic transformation and inclusive growth
  2. Science, technology and innovation
  3. People-centred development
  4. Environmental sustainability, natural resource management, and disaster risk management
  5. Peace & security
  6. Finance and partnership

While the final text of the CAP does further specify these pillars, it remains unclear how the AU would like to see them translated into specific goals and targets. 4

Structural economic transformation

Most emphasis is placed on a structural transformation of Africa’s economic development model, marked as top priority in the CAP. In several OWG-sessions, the African Group has also proposed a stand-alone goal on structural economic transformation, which should include sustained economic and inclusive growth, sustainable agriculture, industrialization and value addition to export commodities, employment and decent jobs, infrastructure and energy.

Promoting such a fundamental change in the structure of African economies is part of a broader AU long-term strategy as exposed in its Agenda 2063, and endorsed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Quarrels over peace and security

One of the more contentious areas was the peace & security pillar. This was only added to the CAP during a closed HLC session on 28 February in Chad,  after the AU General Assembly had explicitly requested the HLC to add this pillar to the framework during the AU Summit in January 2014. Initially, the HLC was of the opinion that peace and security did not come out of the regional consultations as a key priority to be framed as a development pillar, but as a development enabler. Moreover, the issue was mainly pushed by Liberia (chair of the HLC) and African civil society. The AfDB is also said to have played an important part in this, as it recently launched a report in which the importance of building peace and security is recognized as a ‘precondition for progress in other areas’.

This pillar thus marks the likely fragile character of the joint African vision, since African countries largely disagree on its significance and interpretation. This is for example exposed in the draft expert report of the regional consultations  where peace and security was ranked as the highest priority by the Central African region, but only the fourth (out of four) priority for North Africa, eighth out of ten for West Africa, and not mentioned at all as a priority by East Africa and the Southern African region. Despite being added as a pillar to the CAP, some countries fear that a focus on security and the rule of law will make the agenda too exhaustive and will divert attention away from conventional economic development priorities. 5 Other countries, especially in Northern Africa, perceive the inclusion of peace and security as an agenda of the West, and fear a punitive and securitized approach. In the OWG, this has led Egypt to explicitly argue against incorporating the issue in the post-2015 agenda. Moreover, sensitivities are further fed by ongoing debates about the International Criminal Court, which are causing fractures not only in Africa-EU relations, but also between African countries themselves.

Moreover, the precise definition of peace and security remains largely unclear. The CAP upholds a broad interpretation by only mentioning conflict-prevention measures, likely due to disagreements on a more holistic approach that includes issues like human rights and the rule of law. Such disagreements are revealed in the country interventions in the OWG, where the importance of peace and security was stressed by Benin, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia, but with slightly various meanings. 6 While South Africa emphasized human rights and the rule of law, Uganda and Rwanda mainly discussed the conflict-prevention and resolution aspects of the issue.

Dominant players

It thus remains to be seen to what extent Africa will be able to present itself as one bloc during the negotiations. Overall consensus on the priorities might well mask cross-country differences when the pillars are to be translated into specific goals and targets. The likelihood of this scenario is strengthened by the observation that in many African countries, due to a lack of financial and human resources, there is still a lack of awareness of and involvement in the post-2015 process. Except for the foreign affairs departments, other relevant departments, such as those dealing with social and economic affairs, have not yet been sufficiently involved in the process.

Moreover, relatively powerful African countries, especially those represented in the HLC, played a dominant role in the process of drafting and adopting the CAP. The AfDB and specific thematic departments of the AU Commission, in particular Economic Affairs, Trade and Industry and Infrastructure, are also said to have left their mark on the content of the CAP, as can be seen from the priority given to trade and infrastructure. Now that the CAP is slowly trickling down to the national level, country and departmental priorities and interests may prove to deviate from those of the dominant players, especially on the more contentious issues.

Going South or going North?

As there remains national space for African countries to identify their own post-2015 priorities, a relevant question is which way the African pendulums will swing during the upcoming negotiations. Does Africa’s increased self-confidence and vitalized relationship with the BRIC-countries imply that Africa is turning its back to the North?African countries certainly uphold a strong North-South rhetoric, also in the OWG negotiations, by pursuing a different economic development model. They form a strong alliance with other G77 partners when it comes to developing countries’ representation and participation in the global economic and financial architecture. Moreover, clashes with the North most definitely come into play when it comes to means of implementation. Besides urging OECD countries to fulfil their previous ODA commitments and consistent references to the Common But Differentiated Responsibility principle (CBDR), Africa strongly endorses the current G77’s calls to attach financial mechanisms to each specific SDG and associated targets, which is one of the most critical issues in the current OWG discussions.

At the same time, African leaders acknowledge that it is in the interest of Africa, both economically and politically, to maintain strong ties with the North. Moreover, when differences over finance are set aside, African post-2015 priorities, especially when they relate to the more ‘traditional’ development issues such as health, gender and social protection, largely resonate with those of its Northern partners.  

Aligning with multiple partners, from the North and increasingly from the South, is indeed enabling Africa to play a significant role in the process. In this respect, the CAP is seen as a vital instrument, as it provides a negotiation framework on which intercontinental alliances  can be formed. At the same time, much of its significance depends on the extent to which it will trickle down to African governments and whether ownership can be built on African priorities.

Saskia Hollander works as a research editor for The Broker. She is also writing her PhD thesis on direct democratic reform in Europe.

This article first appeared in The Broker 

This is a guest post; views may not represent that of ECDPM


1.  The arguments presented in this article are based on official documents, as well as interviews conducted with staff members from African institutions and research and civil society organizations, in order to gain insights into African post-2015 priorities.
2.  Algeria, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa.
3.  Launched by UNDP, the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
4.  While the CAP was originally drafted to serve as a negotiation document for the international post-2015 negotiations, African institutions, like the AfDB and UNECA, now urge that the CAP should be extended to include specific African development goals to be pursued next to the post-2015 development goals.
5.  In this respect however, interviewees point to a gap between the position of African governments and African civil society: African civil society largely embraces a rights-based approach with focus on human rights, rule of law, transparency and accountability, while at AU member state level peace and security is largely detached from the rule of law.
6.  This finding does not coincide with the outcomes of the regional consultations, where peace and security was not mentioned as a priority by the Southern African region.