Bilal, S. and F. Rampa. 2011. Emerging economies in Africa and the development effectiveness debate. (Discussion Paper 107). Maastricht: ECDPM.
The financial and economic crisis and the emerging economies in the developing world are creating new opportunities for African countries in the relations with external partners. The involvement of these emerging economies in the continent provides fresh opportunities for Africa and its traditional partners, and notably Europe, to engage on new terms that recognise the political and economic transformation that Africa has undergone in the last two decades and consider its increasingly complex global role.
In particular, Europe’s response to Africa’s new partnerships will determine its own relations with the continent, especially its ability to project its values and influence. On the other hand, Africa and its states have an opportunity now to evaluate the form and substance of their engagement with both developed and developing countries, identifying good practices within each and seeking to optimise these in other relations. However, there remain concerns as to the developmental impact that these emerging economies have on Africa.
Key Purpose of ECDPM Study
The objective of this paper is to shed light on the changed context for Africa’s partnerships with new players, traditional donors and lively aid debates and different development models and approaches to cooperation with Africa. It also analyses the ongoing responses to it by different stakeholders and the different development cooperation approaches.
The paper concludes with discussions on how Africa can ensure that different partners’ approaches converge towards African-owned development strategies, and on how this new landscape contributes to the shift of focus from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness, with the likely emergence of a new development paradigm.
Key Findings of ECDPM
The changed context for Africa’s partnerships relates to recent developments in the international aid debates concerning the growing role of South-South cooperation and emerging North-South-South triangular cooperation and the increasing criticism and scepticism over ‘traditional aid’, which could possibly lead to the emergence of a new development paradigm.
Existing regional and pan-African plans do not address the new landscape of multipolar partnerships and do not put forward a more coherent and rational strategy vis-à-vis different partners, although some African institutions have started working towards this objective.
Better alignment to Africa’s objectives and more coherent strategies by Africa and its partners could positively affect the overall international development debate, with a shift of focus from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness.
The most important condition for Africa to implement coherent strategies towards different partners is strengthening institutions and capacity in Africa.