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Human development in the EU’s international spending in turbulent times: From words to deeds?

13-06-2022

Katja Sergejeff, Ennatu Domingo and Pauline Veron, ECDPM Discussion Paper, 13 June 2022

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The knock-on effects of the Russian war against Ukraine are felt particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, with inflation, soaring prices of fertilisers and further food insecurity. This not only stresses the need for continuous and increasing support in human development sectors like nutrition, but also comes with a (geo)political cost to Europe.

Against the backdrop of the conflict, the EU has finalised its programming for much of the €79.5 billion Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI-GE). This paper analyses how human development was addressed in the Multi-Annual Indicative programmes (MIPs) in sub-Saharan Africa. We suggest that human development has become a higher priority in the programming of NDICI-GE than originally planned. The EU is taking a differentiated approach to promote human development in partner countries and trying to balance country priorities and its own geopolitical objectives. Yet, it remains to be seen how this will be implemented and whether the EU will follow through on its commitments, amidst new challenges presented by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While official development assistance (ODA) plays an important role in how the EU is supporting human development in partner countries, going forward, it will be necessary to strengthen the engagement beyond ODA. This will mean leveraging additional finance from investors and the private sector, and enhancing political and policy dialogue with partner countries with a view to promoting stronger ownership of the human development agenda.


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Photo courtesy of United Nations Photo via Flickr.

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Discussion Papers (series)