Making policies work

2015 crucial year for Africa’s future development

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This year marks a crucial shift in the way Africa deals with its own development, with four decisive conferences on the post 2015 agenda, development financing, trade and climate change that should create a more conducive setting for sustainable development.

  • Third UN International Conference on Financing for Development (13 July, Addis Ababa)

  • The UN General Assembly to decide the Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millenium Development Goals (15 September, New York)

  • 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) under the UN Framework for Combating Climate Change (UNFCCC) (30 November, Paris)

  • The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference (15 December, Nairobi)

If all four conferences come to reach mutually supportive conclusions it will be a huge step forward at the global level and for Africa, says the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in their new flagship publication ‘Challenges for Africa-EU relations in 2015’.

Africa is a ‘vulnerability hotspot’ for climate change. As adaptation costs in Africa are expected to reach US $50 billion by 2050, effective climate finance is crucial for African countries. African leaders would benefit from including sustainable agriculture as a key component of the pivotal Paris Climate Agreement, COP 21, in December. 

For the first time in Africa, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold its 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi at the end of the year. With the Bali package now resolved, the upcoming meeting could be a turning point for the global trading system – and crucial for African economic growth.

Compared to 15 years ago, Africa’s voice has been much more pivotal in shaping the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be decided in September.

Africa and international partners will also need to decide on how to finance these demanding goals at the Third UN International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa. 

Beyond that Africa also is intent on tapping into its own wealth to finance its development agendas, most notably the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Significant resources could be raised from within Africa, enough to cover about 70% of the development financing needs.

Given continued unrest on the continent, the focus on peacebuilding should be reinforced in 2015. Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, the DRC, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and continued instability in North Africa suggests that Africa and its partners must consider ways to further strengthen their partnership’s commitment to peacebuilding and inclusive political processes.

A number of African countries with major influence on continental politics are set to have elections in 2015 – Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Libya – leading up to 2016 where the African Union see the election of its next chairperson and College of Commissioners.

The broader devastating impacts of the Ebola outbreak will become clearer in 2015. Beyond the health and humanitarian concerns, many fear additional strain on stability, statebuilding and security in the region.

African leaders will be called on to think and act with long-term vision, and make strategic choices about Africa’s place in the world. The African Union will need to work with its international partners, in particular the EU, to make the SDGs a useful stepping-stone for its own ambitious Agenda 2063.

To arrange for interviews or for more information, please contact ECDPM’s Communications Officer, Emily Barker on +32 (0)2 237 43 81 or +32 (0)474 12 34 73 or 

African economic integrationCross-cutting TopicsEU foreign and development policyEconomic recovery and transformationPeace, security and resilienceSustainable food systemsACP Group of StatesAfrican Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)African Union (AU)African Union Commission (AUC)AgricultureChallengesClimate changeEU NeighbourhoodEU PresidenciesEU-Africa Summit 2014Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES)Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)Post 2015TradeAfricaEurope