Linking policy and practice in international cooperation

Talking Point blog overview

About the Talking Points blog


The Talking Points blog, produced by our people and partners, aims to deepen the dialogue on policy issues, and get to the heart of the matter in an honest and concise way. ...

Migration and Mobility in the Africa-EU Partnership: a breakthrough of more of the same?

  • Anna Knoll
  • Essete Abebe Bekele

For the migration and mobility partnership between Africa and the EU to lead to real results, cooperation needs to include genuine plans for mobility and overcome a focus on the ‘root’ cause ...

Development assistance in a multipolar world


In a rapidly changing world with new geopolitical and economic balances of power, development assistance has to adapt. The most important thing is that we are clear about the role development cooperation ...

New deal for fragile states needs time and political commitment to flourish


Some claim the 2011 Busan agreement is already in crisis, but statebuilding demands patience, resources and resolve. The tragic series of events that have struck South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) in recent months ...

Good news from Durban: CAADP getting more results-oriented!

  • Francesco Rampa

Just before travelling to Durban for the annual Partnership Platform of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), I was asking whether such meeting could  become a key milestone for the African ...

Are Africa and Europe Turning a New Page in Their Relationship?

  • Faten Aggad-Clerx
  • James Mackie

Seeking to understand the potential impact of a Summit immediately after the event is a perilous task, yet looking at the outcomes of last week’s 4th Africa-EU Summit it is possible to ...

By the numbers – how donors can support a demand-led post-2015 data and statistics revolution

  • Florian Krätke

Do we need a ‘data revolution’ goal to create the right demand for a data and statistics revolution post-2015? Recent calls for a ‘data revolution’ emphasise how in the dark we are ...

Beauty contests and economic transformation

  • Bruce Byiers

 “As beauty is only skin-deep, so too is growth”. So Joe Amoako-Kuffour began the Brussels launch of the Africa Transformation Report by ACET (African Centre for Economic Transformation) last week. “Growth may be good, ...

Don’t ignore the elephants in the room - will the Africa-EU summit revitalise the partnership?

  • Geert Laporte

To make the summit a success strong leadership will be needed on both sides of the partnership to square up to the elephants in the room, sorting out the differences to get ...

Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR): the challenge of rejuvenating an old-school principle ahead of the 2015 climate negotiations

  • Hanne Knaepen

Last week I attended a panel discussion on ‘Revisiting the Principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR): Opportunities for the 2015 Climate Agreement’. Hosted by the Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik/German Development Institute (DIE), ...

Water for agriculture in SADC: realising the water, energy and food security nexus

  • Lesley-Anne van Wyk

Close to Kasane, in the very north of Botswana, and Impalila Island in the very east of Namibia, the Zambezi River forms the junction of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The river ...

After 10 years, make or break for CAADP?

  • Francesco Rampa

Next week, people will gather in Durban for the annual Partnership Platform of the continent wide Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). ECDPM will be there too. This meeting is an absolutely ...

Regional programming for the 11th European Development Fund

Does RIPs spell ‘Regional Integration Promise’ or ‘Rest In Peace’?

  • Florian Krätke

The mood at the 2013 African Economic Conference was clear – progress on regional integration in Africa has been slow. The EU is an obvious candidate to support African regional organisations’ (ROs) to drive ...

Taxes and fragile states – how political can it get?

  • Bruce Byiers
  • Frauke de Weijer

The 2014 OECD report on Domestic Resource Mobilization in Fragile States is an interesting – and paradoxical – example of the current debate on statebuilding. Linking domestic resource mobilisation and fragile states is a ...

The European Commission, Civil Society Organisations and the private sector – when talking the same language isn’t quite enough


The Economist magazine has an amusing article that does the rounds from time to time that translates what a native english speaker says (e.g. “that’s not bad”), what the listener understands (“that’s good or ...

The elusive win-win balance in mining. Part 1 – ‘A very complex puzzle…’

  • San Bilal

Mining companies, African governments and civil society organisations seem to live in parallel worlds that rarely meet. When they do, as in African Mining Indaba last week, it is mostly in the margins, and ...

The elusive win-win balance in mining. Part 2 – Show your working in the margin

  • San Bilal

Constructive talks between mining companies and development actors do take place, but mainly in “the margin”. In a literal sense, as business and governments met in confined rooms around the main conference ...

ODA Reform: Change for the sake of change?


+++ Guest post by William Hynes+++ Official Development Assistance (ODA) has for 45 years been the global standard for measuring donor efforts in support of development co-operation objectives. There have recently been ...

What the extractive sector should focus on – Part 1: Shared value

  • Isabelle Ramdoo

As resource-rich countries continue to enjoy high growth rates, the time has come to think about what collaborative business relationships can finally do for inclusive and sustainable development. From 3 – 6 February 2014, ...

What the extractive sector should focus on – Part 2: Partnerships

  • Isabelle Ramdoo

In Part 1 of this blog I said that one of the main points that came out of the Mining Indaba Conference from the  3rd to the 6th February 2014 in Cape Town  ...

Economic transformation in Africa: What is the role for business-to-business in the mining sector?

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

So that African countries can continue the path of economic transformation, the role of the mining sector needs to be enhanced. Besides pure mining activities, there is vast potential to create spatial ...

Economic Partnership Agreements: West Africa seals a deal at the 11th hour

  • Isabelle Ramdoo
  • San Bilal

After 10 years of tough negotiations, on 24th January 2014, West African and European Commission (EC) negotiators reached a major breakthrough on what now will be the first regional economic partnership agreement (EPA) since ...

10 reasons why 2014 is the year of family farming

  • Hanne Knaepen

Family farming is a central piece of the agenda for African transformation. Declared the United Nations (UN) Year of Family Farming and the African Union (AU) Year of Food Security, 2014 will be particularly interesting, ...

Time to put the poorest first: Why the OECD DAC must reform rules on concessional lending


+++ Guest post – Jeroen Kwakkenbos, Advocacy Officer at Eurodad and Stephanie Colin +++ The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) will meet in Paris later this month to discuss the ongoing process of ...

What would Scottish independence mean for development cooperation?

  • James Mackie

While the debate on Scottish independence is heating up prior to the referendum in September 2014, it is important to consider what implications an independent Scotland would have for UK and European ...

African Minerals Development Centre – launch of a milestone for making good use of minerals for Africa’s development?

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

The 3rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development between 13-17 December 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique, under the title Leveraging the Africa Mining Vision for ...

Read the top ten ECDPM blogs of 2013

  • Andrew Sherriff

This year a lot had happened in international development and co-operation. The EU External Action Service review was launched, the African Union celebrated its’ 50th anniversary, and dialogue around the post-2015 agenda ...

The four As of thinking and acting politically (and avoiding ‘purposeless muddling’)…

  • Bruce Byiers

This week the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DAC) Network on Governance hosted a workshop on “Political Economy Analyses (PEA): Lessons Learned and New Directions”. Discussions looked at past progress in incorporating political ...

9th WTO Ministerial in Bali: Trade deal struck, but what implications for geopolitics?

  • Isabelle Ramdoo

The 159 members of the World Trade Organization finally agreed on a deal in the early hours of Saturday 7th December in Bali, after intense and difficult negotiations, saving the multilateral trading system from the sclerosis ...

Challenges 2014: Keeping Ashton’s legacy alive – Showing leadership and coherence in EU external relations through 2014

  • Alisa Herrero Cangas

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number nine +++   2014 is a year of institutional transition but it should not be a year for silent reflection on EU external action. The ...

Climate change at the EDDs: what is going to happen now?

  • Hanne Knaepen

“Climate change does not respect borders and it is a threat that multiplies quickly to other sectors. It is the biggest challenge to the developing world in the post-2015 landscape.” With these ...

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013): Condolences to a Nation

  • Jan Vanheukelom

“Trevor, where are my weights?” At 4 am, those must have been Mandela’s first morning words as a free man on 12 February 1990. Trevor Manuel was one of the Cape leaders ...

Challenges 2014: The Great European Renaissance or Depression - who will lead the EU from 2014?

  • Damien Helly

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number eight +++   Institutional Changes The future role of Europe in the world, including Africa/ACP-Europe relations, will be seriously affected by the outcomes of next ...

Crossing the border between Malawi and Zambia

How to convince informal traders to give up the ‘Zalewa’ route?

  • Kathleen van Hove

There is still room for improvement to facilitate the trade integration between Malawi and Zambia. We recently took a trip hoping for smooth passage, but it took us two hours to cross ...

European Development Days: Feeding the 5000 (delegates)

  • Clément Silverman

‘The [EU] institutions need to change’, said the Centre for Global Development’s Owen Barder in an interview with ECDPM at the European Development Days this week. There is a feeling that Europe has so ...

Challenges 2014: Setting countries up to fail? Monitoring the implementation of the New Deal for Fragile States

  • Frauke de Weijer

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number seven +++ The New Deal has the potential to be a real game changer for engagement in fragile states, if the spirit of the New ...

Challenges 2014: Family Farming, African Food Security and EU-AU relations, deadlock or turning-point in 2014?

  • Francesco Rampa

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number six +++ Declared the UN Year of Family Farming and the AU Year of Food Security, 2014 will be particularly interesting. With key challenges in terms of policy ...

Challenges 2014: Africa-EU Relations, when space is tight, focus on the essentials

  • Faten Aggad-Clerx

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number five  +++  “You are not alone at the party. There is already someone at the table” – the words of a participant shared at the recent ...

Challenges 2014: Win-wins affect interests, can they effect economic transformation?

  • Bruce Byiers

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number three  +++ Will 2014 be a year of implementation? If 2014 is to be a year in which we see genuine moves towards economic transformation it ...

“Doing less and choosing better”: Pacific perspectives on the future of the ACP Group

  • Geert Laporte

The Pacific always has been regarded as “the small boy in the ACP class”.  With the exception of  the “Pacific giant” Papua New Guinea, the region mainly includes small independent islands states ...

Challenges in 2014: Modernisation of EU development cooperation, kick-started or running on the spot?

  • Florian Krätke

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number two  +++ The European Union’s Agenda for Change is a case of evolution over revolution. The EU’s new development policy sketches an aid-centric reform strategy that introduces significant ...

Bananas and bottlenecks: Piloting regional value chain cooperation for food security

  • Francesco Rampa

After decades of protocols and high-level declarations without implementation, regional integration is slowly happening in many parts of Africa, often driven by commercial moves. More recently, regional markets and especially public-private-partnerships (PPP) ...

Challenges in 2014: the Post-2015 agenda

  • James Mackie

+++ ECDPM Challenges blog series. Post number one  +++  The negotiations on the next post-2015 international development framework will not be easy. This time around there is a lot of interest and many different ...

Challenges in 2014: Will it be a turning point in Africa-EU relations?

  • Rhys Williams

+++ Introducing the ECDPM Challenges blog series.  +++ Over the next seven weeks ECDPM will share its thoughts on the major challenges ahead in 2014 for Africa – EU relations. With a specific thematic ...

Political Economy: will Africa’s leaders finally walk the talk?


Guest blog by Christian Kingombe The citizens of the African continent have been introduced to one grand vision of development after the other – from OAU to AU since the well-known debate between Kwame Nkrumah and Nnamdi Azikiwe. ...

We can create local wealth and jobs and Governments should support family farming more effectively, say West African farmers

  • Fabien Tondel

The Vice-President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, the Minister of Agriculture of Liberia, Florence Chenoweth, and other West African public officials met with representatives of the Network of Peasant Organisations and Agricultural Producers ...

Innovative on paper, conservative on the ground? EU plans to improve engagement with civil society

  • Frauke de Weijer

Last week, the European Commission’s published a new policy proposal titled ‘the roots of democracy and sustainable development; Europe’s engagement with civil society in external relations’.  aiming to carve out a new and more strategic ...

CAADP and the emerging economies: why so little traction?

  • Anna Rosengren
  • Quentin de Roquefeuil

Emerging economies are being fairly reluctant towards fully aligning their agricultural support to the CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) framework. In a study undertaken by ECDPM, “Emerging economies and the changing dynamics ...

[Video] Interview with Werner Thut from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)


Image above: The four operational departments of the SDC Transcript Which goals for global development post-2015 are important for Switzerland? Switzerland is likely to promote as stand-alone goals: agenda for equality, health, ...

[Podcast] Les relations Afrique-Europe en Afrique du Nord-Ouest et des stratégies régionales pour le Sahel

  • Damien Helly
  • Sahra El Fassi

Même si il ya maintenant un nouveau président au Mali suite à un processus electoral organisé en hâte, le développement, la gouvernance et la sécurité dans la région de l’Afrique du Nord ...