Making policies work

Commentaries overview

What it would take to provide structural solutions to food insecurity in Africa

04-07-2022
  • Poorva Karkare

A few weeks ago, my colleague Francesco Rampa rightly pointed out the need to seek more structural solutions to Africa’s food insecurity, rather than focusing only on short-term emergency responses. An important ...

On transport corridors: People, profits, politics and patience

04-07-2022
  • Bruce Byiers

Corridors are becoming all the rage – as a priority for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and as a focus of the recently launched EU Global Gateway. Recent research can ...

The African Union at twenty: A new leader in digital innovation?

04-07-2022
  • Ennatu Domingo
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw

In 2022, the African Union turns 20 amidst a shifting global geopolitical context. Energy security, strategic (economic) autonomy and one’s standing in global multilateral systems, but also innovation and digitalisation, have increasingly ...

Russia's war against Ukraine should trigger structural solutions to food insecurity

20-06-2022
  • Francesco Rampa

The emerging food crisis is widely presented as an effect of Russia’s war against Ukraine, but its key causes predate the conflict. It brings many threats to Africa, but also the opportunity ...

Strengthening the EU-AU digital agenda: The potential of e-justice

13-06-2022
  • Robert Okello

Digital innovations in education, healthcare and business have transformed our way of working and living – something which has been accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, technology has a big impact ...

Civic tech at the service of democracy and good governance in Africa

06-06-2022
  • Latyr Tine
  • Rukia Mohamed Bakari

Civil society connects citizens with a variety of actors, facilitating civic engagement and participation. It is generally described as the ‘third space’ where citizens with different interests can address issues on a ...

Youth aspiring towards the African dream

09-05-2022
  • Robert Okello

Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 60% of the total population in sub-Saharan Africa aged 25 years and below. The growing number of young people is the continent’s greatest ...

Sustainable fashion cannot stop at the EU border

04-04-2022
  • Jeske van Seters
  • Nadia Ashraf

“It’s time to end the model of ‘take, make, break, and throw away’”, said EU commissioner Frans Timmermans last week as he presented the new package of Green Deal proposals to make ...

What the EU’s asylum response to the war in Ukraine means for Africa-Europe relations

28-03-2022
  • Anna Knoll

The war in Ukraine is now entering its fifth week. Russia’s tactic involves increasing attacks against civilians, resulting in ever-growing internal displacement and refugee flows. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates ...

The health sector – a promising avenue for a strengthened AU-EU partnership

21-03-2022
  • Karim Karaki
  • Pamella Ahairwe
  • Philomena Apiko

The sixth European Union-African Union Summit resulted in a number of commitments from both the AU and EU aiming to support the resilience of health systems. The health sector offers an opportunity ...

The European Peace Facility and Ukraine: Implications for Africa-Europe relations

14-03-2022
  • Volker Hauck

The mobilisation of the European Peace Facility (EPF) in support of Ukrainian armed forces against Russia’s invasion marks a radical paradigm shift for EU foreign policy. The title ‘Peace Facility’ might appear ...

Russia’s invasion leaves North Africa with a food crisis – What can Europe do?

14-03-2022
  • Hanne Knaepen
  • Koen Dekeyser

Grain importing countries in North Africa must prepare for a food crisis due to the war in Ukraine. The past has shown that rising food prices, this time also combined with a ...

What the EU’s plans to phase out Russian gas mean for Europe and Africa

14-03-2022
  • Alfonso Medinilla

The war in Ukraine is redrawing the lines of the EU’s energy policies. It will be critical to retain an outward perspective and keep the momentum for renewable energy transition in Africa ...

Breaking down the EU-AU Summit

Weekly Compass editorial

22-02-2022
  • Philomena Apiko

In a special EU-AU Summit edition of ECDPM’s Weekly Compass newsletter, Philomena Apiko took over from Virginia Mucchi as guest editor and shared her take on what happened during the EU-AU Summit ...

After the EU-AU Summit: Inching towards just transition in Africa

21-02-2022
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Hanne Knaepen

The sixth EU-AU Summit was an opportunity for a candid exchange on what a just transition means in Africa, and to get concrete on financing Africa’s own decarbonisation and adaptation pathways. The ...

The EU-AU Summit: From diplomatic success to a more balanced investment partnership

21-02-2022
  • San Bilal

Last week’s European Union (EU) – African Union (AU) Summit in Brussels is considered a diplomatic success in many capitals. But in many respects, it is also a missed opportunity to rebalance ...

Bringing African digital interests into the spotlight

14-02-2022
  • Ennatu Domingo

The EU-AU Summit in February 2022 is an opportunity for the EU to ‘anchor its geopolitical interests and initiatives to African strategic priorities’. Yet the digital partnership will not be a focus ...

Beyond Brussels and Addis Ababa: How to make the AU-EU partnership work

14-02-2022
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Chloe Teevan
  • Kathleen Van Hove

The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have never struggled to list common areas of interest or set up thematic partnerships and joint initiatives. The persistent challenge however is translating ...

Why migration and mobility should – but probably won't – be at the heart of the EU-AU Summit

07-02-2022
  • Amanda Bisong
  • Anna Knoll

Migration is once again one of the more controversial items on the agenda of the long-awaited EU-AU Summit on 17 and 18 February in Brussels. As African and European leaders are getting ...

The EU-AU Summit: Geopolitics, a pandemic and a partnership that struggles to thrive

07-02-2022
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw

The sixth EU-AU Summit is planned for 17-18 February 2022, after a two-year hiatus, some miscommunication and a lot of back and forth between now and the last summit in 2017. The ...

Africa’s Year of Nutrition: Time for paper tigers to start biting

03-02-2022
  • Koen Dekeyser
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina
  • Jorrit Oppewal (The Broker)

This weekend, during their General Assembly, the African Union (AU) will declare 2022 the African Year of Nutrition. This attention is very much welcome as it presents an opportunity to link the ...

EU countries should reallocate a share of their special drawing rights as a strong commitment at the EU-AU Summit

17-01-2022
  • San Bilal

To walk the talk on a partnership of equals with Africa in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, European countries should follow the lead of the French presidency of the Council of ...

The EU’s digital talk in 2022 needs financial walk

13-12-2021
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Ennatu Domingo

On 1 December, the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) launched the Global Gateway, a grand connectivity strategy aimed at helping the European Union (EU) compete with China on ...

The EU’s Global Gateway: Groundbreaking initiative or smart rebranding?

06-12-2021
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Fabien Tondel

Last week, the European Commission and the European External Action Service unveiled the EU’s €300 billion ‘Global Gateway’ investment plan, intended as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Here’s what ...

The new German government: A breath of fresh air or more of the same?

29-11-2021
  • Anna Knoll
  • Volker Hauck

After two months of tough negotiations, the German traffic light coalition (led by the Social Democrats and backed by the Greens and the Free Democrats) has unveiled its coalition plans. Boldy titled ...

COP26 through an Africa-Europe lens

22-11-2021
  • Hanne Knaepen

The Glasgow Climate Pact failed to capture the emergency mode that many countries, also in Africa, called for. Countries’ 2030 climate action pledges suggest a 2.4-degree trajectory by 2100, instead of the ...

Rebooting policy dialogue

15-11-2021
  • Sergio Rodriguez Prieto

The European Union has made it clear that policy dialogue is expected to play the part of the ‘operating system’ for its international partnerships. In other words, if you take it away, ...

Climate responses in the Central Sahel: Three lessons beyond COP26

01-11-2021
  • Maëlle Salzinger

In the Central Sahel, climate commitments are hampered by a lack of coordination and finance, while insecurity puts further pressure on the region. Can COP26 help address some of these blockages? Will ...

Our hopes for the UN Food Systems Summit

20-09-2021
  • Cecilia D’Alessandro
  • Hanne Knaepen
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina

The UN Food Systems Summit is taking place on Thursday. It represents the culmination of an 18-month global process that has brought together UN member states, food producers, researchers, civil society representatives ...

Power, politics and inclusion in food systems: The case of Sudan

05-07-2021
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina

There is an emerging consensus that our food systems need to change to provide healthier diets within planetary boundaries. There has been no shortage of potentially game-changing solutions proposed by the international ...

The beauty contest is over: High time to reform the European financial architecture for development

21-06-2021
  • San Bilal

Last week, the Council of the European Union (EU) finally adopted long-awaited conclusions to set clear directions on how to enhance the European financial architecture for development (EFAD). Strengthening the EFAD is ...

Mandatory environmental due diligence: What is exactly expected of companies?

14-06-2021
  • Valentina Bolognesi
  • Katrin Recke

In April 2020, EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders announced that the European Commission was preparing sustainable corporate governance legislation that would require companies operating in the EU to carry out human rights ...

Africa Day: The AU's role in African and global affairs – Part 2

31-05-2021
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Amanda Bisong
  • Bruce Byiers

For Africa Day 2021, commemorating the founding of the African Union (AU)’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), we asked our team working on African institutions and regional dynamics to share ...

Africa Day: The AU's role in African and global affairs – Part 1

21-05-2021
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw
  • Martin Ronceray
  • Philomena Apiko

For Africa Day 2021, commemorating the founding of the African Union (AU)’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), we asked our team working on African institutions and regional dynamics to share ...

The AfCFTA: From institutional structures to private sector engagement

12-04-2021
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Catherine Makokera Grant

Despite a global pandemic and much scepticism about how you get 54 countries to bring a free trade area into being, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is now underway. Or ...

AUDA-NEPAD: Does money and focus equal ownership and trade?

22-03-2021
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Ueli Staeger

With trading having officially started under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021, the African Union (AU) and its member states are now under pressure to make this ...

Supporting circularity in South Africa-EU food trade

15-03-2021
  • Jeske van Seters
  • Tlale Matseke (DNA Economics)

South African wine is well known in Europe, but Europeans consume many more South African products, often without knowing. The European Union (EU) is the second largest market for South African exports, ...

Collective investment in trade and digital infrastructure: A new pathway to silencing the guns in Africa

08-03-2021
  • Jide Martyns Okeke

In this guest contribution for ECDPM, Dr Jide Martyns Okeke argues that collective African leadership and deliberate investments in boosting intra-African trade and digital transformation could accelerate the quest for silencing the ...

Connecting people and markets in Africa in 2021

08-02-2021
  • Niklas Mayer

On 1 January 2021, trading formally began in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA aims to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people ...

African Union Summit and elections: Something old, something new

08-02-2021
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Philomena Apiko

With the African Union (AU)’s 34th Summit of heads of state taking place last weekend, it is a good time to reflect on what came out of it, and what the year ...

How to make 2021 the year of sustainable food systems

01-02-2021
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina
  • Nina de Roo

Twenty-twentyone could be the year of sustainable food systems. Next week, hundreds of representatives of governments, indigenous communities, farmers’ organisations, multinational food retailers, fertiliser companies, researchers and experts, will come together for ...

Climate adaptation takes a seat at the table, finally

01-02-2021
  • Hanne Knaepen

On 25 and 26 January, the government of the Netherlands organised the first-ever Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS2021), with support from the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA). Presidents, prime ministers and leaders of ...

Brexit and development cooperation: A major connection problem

11-01-2021
  • Andrew Sherriff

The European Union and the United Kingdom start 2021 with no formal agreement for cooperation in development, and no dedicated mechanisms to promote coordination or collaboration. Both parties will be weaker for ...

A trip through 2020: How Africa-Europe relations played out

14-12-2020
  • Nina Thijssen
  • Virginia Mucchi

Like us, you probably can’t wait for 2020 to be over. It’s been an intense year full of plot twists that have definitely left their mark on how the world goes round ...

Is international anti-corruption best on the front page or under the radar?

07-12-2020
  • Martin Ronceray

With International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, it is again time for renewed commitments to fighting corruption. This year it is made more salient by the need to ensure integrity in health ...

How the EU can step up its support to conflict prevention and peacebuilding

07-12-2020
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Volker Hauck

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding (CPPB) is more needed than ever, given a rising number of violent conflicts in the world. While most of these conflicts take place at sub-national levels, many also ...

Germany and South Africa together can protect and advance the women, peace and security agenda

12-10-2020
  • Sophie Desmidt

While the world ‘celebrates’ the 20th anniversary of UN security resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, Sophie Desmidt is less impressed with progress made. In her latest commentary, she calls on ...

The AU-EU Summit didn’t prove immune to COVID-19 – but that may be a blessing in disguise

14-09-2020
  • Geert Laporte

This year was supposed to be crucial for Africa-Europe relations, culminating in the sixth AU-EU Summit, scheduled for 28 and 29 October in Brussels. But then COVID-19 happened. After a long palaver, ...

A summer like no other – What’s at stake in critical EU external policy processes

06-07-2020
  • Alexei Jones
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Andrew Sherriff

Unusually worried you may miss some big policy developments over the summer? July and August are traditionally quiet months for the European Union (EU), but this will be a summer like no ...

Following the money: Why a COVID-19 marker might not help

29-06-2020
  • Mariella Di Ciommo
  • San Bilal

The EU is putting forward the idea of a COVID-19 marker on aid data to track the unprecedented mobilisation of resources to tackle the crisis globally. Rather than such a marker, the ...