Making policies work

Blog overview

An AU-EU alliance to defend multilateralism

08-04-2019
  • James Mackie

A decade ago, the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) committed to ‘jointly promote and sustain a system of effective multilateralism’ as one of the four objectives of their 2007 ...

Sustainable livestock value chains in West Africa: Can regional organisations rise to the challenges?

04-04-2019
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Fabien Tondel

Livestock production and trade accounts for a large part of the agri-food economy and intra-regional trade in West Africa. Livestock products contribute to food security and nutrition, as sources of nutrients and ...

Who’s interested in the EU’s open invitation to join a post-Cotonou Agreement?

29-03-2019
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Emmanuel De Groof

The negotiations for the successor to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) are ongoing and, this spring, chief negotiators will likely meet again. They may then also discuss whether to encourage third states ...

Getting to grips with the regional politics of water in Africa

18-03-2019
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Martin Ronceray

Cross-border water governance is a world where technical and political communities collide, where principled and scientific approaches to resource allocation cross political interests and economic stakes. For World Water Day, we draw ...

Four opportunities to give to gender the importance it deserves in EU policy and external spending

04-03-2019
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Noemi Cascone

Many think that changing the direction of the EU policy ‘oil tanker ship’ is virtually impossible and that it’s much easier to hook initiatives onto the direction it’s already heading in instead. ...

A generational divide in the fight against climate change

04-03-2019
  • Hanne Knaepen

In this post of our ‘Challenges Paper blogs’ series, Hanne Knaepen looks at the new leaders on climate action: young people in Europe and in Africa. ‘To move towards long-term solutions’, she ...

The African Continental Free Trade Area: The hard work starts now

15-02-2019
  • Philomena Apiko
  • Sean Woolfrey

At the recent African Union (AU) Summit, three more African countries signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), while at least three others deposited instruments of ratification of ...

The reform engine of the African Union has started - Over to Egypt to keep it running

11-02-2019
  • Jan Vanheukelom

Two years ago, Rwandan President Paul Kagame kickstarted reforms to the African Union. As he hands over the chair to his Egyptian successor el-Sisi, many wonder what will happen to this reform ...

Europe and migration in 2019: Tough choices, conflicting priorities and existential questions

04-02-2019
  • Anna Knoll

In the second post of our ‘Challenges Paper blogs’ series, Anna Knoll discusses how migration considerations are likely to take centre stage in a number of European policy processes in 2019, how ...

Win-win-win: Africa and Europe in 2019 should move towards solutions that benefit migrants too

28-01-2019
  • Amanda Bisong

In the first post of our ‘Challenges Paper blogs’ series, Amanda Bisong looks at what trends we can expect to witness in Africa concerning migration issues. ‘To move towards long-term solutions’, she ...

Finding a new point of departure for the future of UK-EU development cooperation after Brexit

21-01-2019
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Emmanuel De Groof

On Tuesday 15 January, the draft withdrawal agreement – the result of 18 months of intense negotiations between British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and the European Union – was flatly rejected ...

The European Union and the United Nations need each other more than ever

17-12-2018
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Pauline Veron

In the past few months, the EU institutions have consistently expressed their support to the UN and its reform, in the face of a rapidly changing world. At a time when commitments ...

Preserving ecosystems in Africa: Reflections from COP24

17-12-2018
  • Romy Chevallier

This is a guest contribution from Romy Chevallier, Senior Researcher in the Governance of Africa’s Resources programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). I spent the past week in ...

EU competition law and sustainability coming together

17-12-2018
  • Jeske van Seters

A recent conference organised by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee on competition law and sustainability brought together two communities that don’t often meet. ...

What has thinking and working politically ever done for us?

10-12-2018
  • Bruce Byiers

Development is nothing if not political. Yet development policy and interventions are often premised on a purely technical basis, leading to frustration or surprise when things go awry. That was kind of ...

Small changes, big world: An inspiration for Europe and middle-income countries fighting climate change

26-11-2018
  • Mariella Di Ciommo
  • Sanne Thijssen

The urge to act against climate change is ever growing, as shown by the recent strikes all over the globe, where thousands of youths called their governments to act against rising temperatures. ...

Industrialising Africa one nut at a time

20-11-2018
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Jeske van Seters

High fives for industrialisation Today is Africa Industrialisation Day. Falling just between World Toilet Day and World Television Day you could be forgiven for not being aware. The theme this year is ...

What just happened? On Africa, EU aid, trade and Brexit – Seven key questions answered

19-11-2018
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Emmanuel De Groof

The UK Cabinet backed the draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Chief European Commission negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, has declared there has been decisive progress which has led ...

The EU to the rescue: priorities for a positive multilateralism

16-10-2018
  • James Mackie
  • Lucien Chabason
  • Simon Maxwell

On 17 and 18 October 2018, ECDPM, together with the other members of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) and the European Parliament, is organising a conference on innovation in development and the ...

De EU als reddingsboei: prioriteiten voor een positief multilateralisme

16-10-2018
  • James Mackie
  • Lucien Chabason
  • Simon Maxwell

Op 17 and 18 oktober 2018 organiseert ECDPM samen met de andere leden van de European Think Tanks Group en het Europees Parlement een conferentie in Brussels rondom het thema ‘innovatie in ...

Philanthropy and Africa’s demographic growth: Finding allies to support the potential of young people

15-10-2018
  • Emmanuel De Groof
  • Sanne Thijssen

During the past decades, the significant demographic growth on the African continent has added pressure on nations’ economies. Population growth is in itself not a problem. However, it can become one when ...

Theresa May’s charm offensive in Africa does not consider the full impact of a cliff-edge Brexit

03-09-2018
  • Emmanuel De Groof
  • San Bilal

While Prime Minister Theresa May was in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria for the first time since the beginning of her mandate, her government back in London was stepping up preparations for ...

The ACP group and the African Union in the post-Cotonou negotiations: Survival of the fittest?

25-06-2018
  • Geert Laporte

The great celebration over last month’s adoption by the ACP of their negotiating mandate hides what is actually a conservative document, unfit for a world post-2020. And certainly, it did not manage ...

Wanted: A new alliance to defend the neighbourhood and the world in the next EU budget

18-06-2018
  • Alexei Jones
  • Andrew Sherriff

On 14 June, the European Commission published its detailed proposals for the ‘Neighbourhood & the World’ heading of the next EU budget. This part of the EU budget, also known as Heading ...

Tunisia’s migration dilemma

11-06-2018

On 3 June, a boat packed with over 180 migrants sank off the Tunisian coast, near the island of Kerkennah, causing the tragic death of at least 100 persons. The accident probably ...

Gender as a top EU priority according to President Juncker and Commissioner Mimica: Now comes the difficult part

11-06-2018
  • Alexei Jones
  • Emmanuel De Groof
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

This year’s edition of the European Development Days saw several EU representatives, including President Juncker and Commissioner Mimica, reiterating their commitment to making gender a priority for the EU’s external relations and ...

What does it really mean to be pan-African in the 21st century?

04-06-2018

In the third and last blog of our series inspired by and dedicated to Africa Day, which marks the anniversary of the creation of the African Union, Dalil Djinnit shares his wish ...

Did pan-Africanism die with our founding fathers?

28-05-2018

On 25 May, we celebrated Africa Day. In the second blog of our Africa Day series, Kesa Pharatlhatlhe explains what being African means to her, and why pan-Africanism is important for Africa’s ...

What being African means to me

22-05-2018
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw

Ahead of Africa Day (25 May), in the first of a three-part blog series, Lidet Tadesse explains what being African means to her. I have owned up to and nurtured my African ...

ACP-EU negotiations and the next EU budget: Six crucial weeks to understand which way the wind is blowing

22-05-2018
  • Andrew Sherriff

Today, development ministers from all over Europe will gather in Brussels to discuss the future of relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and, on ...

International crimes during apartheid: Why Cyril Ramaphosa is still paying South African debt to foreign banks

14-05-2018
  • Jan Vanheukelom

The biggest mystery about apartheid has been solved. We now know how the apartheid regime in Pretoria could continue to buy arms after the global mandatory arms embargo in 1977. Sanctions-busting prolonged ...

Local authorities in EU external action after 2020: Strategic actors or distant voices?

07-05-2018
  • Jean Bossuyt

A new buzzword has appeared in the richly endowed development jargon: multi-actor partnerships. It reflects the gradual realisation that central governments alone cannot deliver the goods. Effective collaboration with other actors, including ...

The EU budget proposal for external action: How much, what for, and what we still don’t know

07-05-2018
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

After reading last week’s proposal by the European Commission for the next EU budget and, in particular, the details related to external action, we have put together the key points on how ...

Three ingredients for a future-proof funding for migration

30-04-2018
  • Anna Knoll
  • Pauline Veron

When it comes to migration, the next EU budget is an important occasion to look back at what has been done so far and transform it into lessons for the future. Migration ...

Breaking or making the Commission’s ambition to streamline EU external action

27-04-2018
  • Emmanuel De Groof

Increasing the impact of EU external spending is high on the agenda. Commission President Juncker and High Representative/Vice President Mogherini have several reasons to push for a coherent yet flexible EU external ...

Time for leaders and youth to shape the Africa they want, together

20-04-2018

Without a united collective voice that might at least provide a coherent message on behalf of the youth, there is limited pressure on leaders to engage beyond rhetoric. Youth unemployment in Africa ...

Breaking the silence on North Africa: A new EU-Africa partnership after 2020

03-04-2018
  • Alfonso Medinilla

This blog post was originally published by EURACTIV on 30 March 2018. The EU will soon open negotiations with the 78 countries of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific group on the future ...

Is the EU ready to renew its engagement with more advanced developing countries?

26-03-2018
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

The EU has not escaped the global conversation on how to come to terms with a world where some countries have made substantial development progress but still face many challenges. These countries ...

EU external action and development cooperation in the next EU budget: One instrument to play many tunes

12-03-2018
  • Alexei Jones
  • Andrew Sherriff

On Monday 5 March, POLITICO woke us up with interesting reading: a letter signed by Commission President Juncker and Budget Commissioner Oettinger on the next Multiannual External Financial Framework (MFF) sent to ...

The UK proposes a ‘win-win opt-in’ on international cooperation

05-03-2018
  • Emmanuel De Groof

In a recent non-paper seen by ECDPM entitled ‘The EU beyond 2020 – Future Development Instruments: a UK perspective’, the UK government argues for a flexible and modern EU development architecture after ...

Do we expect too much from election observation missions?

26-02-2018
  • Martin Ronceray

As the electoral crisis that started in Kenya last summer drags on and takes new dimensions, onlookers cannot help but wonder if the international community could have done better for the country. ...

The Sustainable Development Goals, the EU and member states: Getting their act together and acting together

19-02-2018
  • Alexei Jones

Back in 2015, the European Union took a serious commitment to reach a number of ambitious, transformative and universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. However, the gap between commitments and the ...

Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS: Building bridges or rocking the boat?

19-02-2018
  • Bruce Byiers

Two months after its re-admission to the African Union, Morocco announced its bid to join the West African regional organisation ECOWAS. In their 51st Summit, held in Monrovia in June 2017, ECOWAS ...

EU financing and private investments: Time for a quantum leap

05-02-2018
  • San Bilal

Negotiations on the future of the EU finances post-2020 are a unique occasion to reconsider the financial instruments of the European Union, for both internal and external actions. They are also a ...

Beyond symbolic progress: UK contribution to EU development aid until 2020

22-01-2018
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Emmanuel De Groof

The joint report on the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, published last month, closed the first phase of the Brexit negotiations. One of the thorniest issues was the ...

Negotiating a new agreement with the ACP post-2020: What is at stake in the coming months

15-01-2018
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Jean Bossuyt

On 12 December 2017, the European Commission presented its recommendation to the Council for opening negotiations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP). In the first semester of 2018, ...

The perfect development storm: Do the EU and member states have what it takes to stay dry?

18-12-2017
  • Alexei Jones
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Vera Mazzara

The European Union and its member states are reiterating their commitment to work closer together when it comes to development cooperation. But the reality is still rather sobering. What is needed more ...

The year of new crises for Africa’s youth

11-12-2017
  • Asmita Parshotam (SAIIA)

Ahead of our annual Challenges Paper, published in January 2018, Asmita Parshotam from the South African Institute of International Affairs looks back at the year 2017. She shares her thoughts on the ...

What we can learn from Sweden on promoting sustainable peace

11-12-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Pauline Veron

Since 2010 the number of violent conflicts has tripled and the number of people affected by conflicts has increased dramatically. It looks like policies to promote peace are just not keeping up ...

The AU-EU Abidjan Summit: Is there life beyond migration?

04-12-2017
  • Geert Laporte

Amidst hopeless traffic jams and a long queue of presidential planes at the airport, the besieged city of Abidjan was the scene, last week, of the fifth Africa-Europe Summit. It was the ...