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Tuesday, 01 December 2015

According to recent reports by Reuters, the EU and Angola are set to reach a deal that will help the African country maintain its economic growth, boost good governance and fight poverty. In the words of José Manuel Durão Barroso,  the President of the European Commission, the new agreement, called the EU-Angola Joint Way Forward, is intended to “launch a permanent process of dialogue and cooperation between the two regions”.

According to a new Global Outlook Report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the European Commission,  despite successful initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and production are flourishing around the globe, further efforts are needed to embed such practices in existing policy frameworks.  The Report, which has been released  at Stockholm+40, an event marking the 40th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, presents an overview of efforts worldwide to shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns.

Some of the most commented headlines from around the web last week focused on ACP-EU issues, notably on Africa. All seem to succumb Africa’s attractiveness:  Ritesh Kumar Singh and Sudhakar Kasture, experts in international trade,  say  that the economic slowdown is leading the EU and the US to resort to non-tariff barriers, with the aim of restricting imports into their territories and protect local employment. As emerging economies such as India and China  continue to see growth in their manufacturing sectors, “resource-rich Africa” appears to be catching the attention of global players as prospective strategic partner. “Gradually, Africa has stopped being considered as a dark continent and everybody wants a pie of the African market”, they state.
One may link these statements to the latest declarations of Benjamin W. Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania and Chairperson of the South Centre, who (again) expressed doubts over whether or not EPA negotiations were driven by European interests.  This week, he goes deeper and presents the three possible scenarios for EU-EAC negotiations and the consequences thereof.  The elimination of tariffs on 80 per cent of trade, restrictions on the use of export taxes and quantitative restrictions, as well as the standstill clause will result in nothing less than Africa becoming a perpetual supplier of raw materials.
Recent reports on the EU-Pacific relations seem more optimistic. As Pacific Islands are an alarming case of the adverse effects of climate change where rising sea levels have an impact upon every aspect of citizens' lives and hamper the economic development, the EU aims to develop a more comprehensive partnership, as this would successfully address issues of global importance, such as climate change, and which would go beyond the “mere” donor-recipient relationship currently in place.

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