The new EU development policy shifts in practice: Views from Kenya and Cameroon
As the European Commission currently undertakes the mid-term review of the NDICI-Global Europe instrument, Amandine Sabourin, Katja Sergejeff and Alexei Jones analyse some of the implications of the EU’s new political framework for international partnerships in partner countries, particularly in Kenya and Cameroon.
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This paper looks at the implications of significant changes the European Union has made in recent years in its international partnerships and development cooperation and how these changes ‘land’ in partner countries.
The Global Gateway strategy and the overarching objectives of the so-called ‘geopolitical Commission’ give it a more political course, which is funded and implemented through the NDICI-Global Europe instrument and follows a Team Europe approach. With this new framework in place, the EU aims to become a more strategic global player able to forge stronger and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Drawing from the examples of Kenya and Cameroon, we argue that while the EU’s discourse is progressively moving from narrow development cooperation to broader and more strategic international partnerships, the cooperation is still in practice geared around a development approach. The changes envisioned by the EU, in terms of strategic priorities and modus operandi, are taking time to shape at the country level.
Our research also points out limitations in how the EU has communicated and accompanied partner countries to understand and adapt to the practical changes brought about by its new framework, such as the shift from grants towards other financing modalities. The policy changes and new modalities require significant adjustments and learning from all sides. Yet, these adjustments take time, and our research points to a number of steps needed to actually set those changes in motion, starting with more capacities for the EU and its member states to address those challenges and accompany their partners in this transition.