EU development policy shifts in practice: Voices from Africa



As the European Union becomes more transactional and interest-driven in its approach to development policy, it is vital to research how the change is perceived by partner countries.

In this podcast series, Amandine Sabourin interviews key partners in EU development policy, from ambassadors to local civil society leaders and European diplomats, to finally shine a light on how rulings designed in Brussels are actually playing out on the ground, the effect on the EU’s relationship with its partners, and vital lessons for the EU if it wants to achieve its development ambitions.

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    In November 2023, ECDPM published a paper (in English and in French) analysing some of the political and practical implications of the EU development policy shifts in Kenya and Cameroon. It found that the new instrument NDICI-Global Europe, the Global gateway strategy, as well as the geopolitical Commission’s objectives, are bringing about significant changes in the EU’s relationship with its partner countries. 

    Further new approaches such as Team Europe and the increasing use of innovative financing mechanisms (e.g. EFSD+ and guarantee mechanisms) are also having far reaching consequences for partner countries, but they are taking longer to unfold at the partner country level.

    Episode Pages
    Amandine speaks to Philippe van Damme, previous EU ambassador to Cameroon

    Episode 1 with Moses Isooba

    Moses Isooba, executive director of the Ugandan NGO Forum, reflects on the EU's changing relationship to African civil society. Broadening the partnerships has been one of the significant shifts of the EU development cooperation’s recent evolution. On paper, the EU aims at engaging in a more meaningful manner with civil society, and at supporting them in a more effective way. But in reality, how has the relationship between the EU and civil society in partner countries changed with the EU’s new approach to development? Read more here.

    Episode 2 with Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba

    The definition of mutual interests is a good occasion to ask how development objectives are integrated in the Global gateway strategy and the NDICI-Global Europe. Ambassador Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba shines light on how a country like Botswana is navigating its mutual interests with the EU. Read more here.

    Episode 3 with Philippe van Damme

    The new NDICI-Global Europe framework brings in simplicity, flexibility, agility, and reactivity to development finance - all crucial to making the EU a more geopolitical player. Former ambassador Philippe van Damme joins to answer how the EU's new approach is working in practice. Read more here.

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