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ACP-EU Policy

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2018
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EDITO
Thursday, 20 September 2018

Reviewing the latest events of note for developing countries, Ronald Sanders, an international consultant and former diplomat in the Caribbean region, spoke of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the ACP Group meeting held in Brussels last week. Even if the two parties agreed to join forces on key challenges, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Sanders regrets that actions taken would be limited to “the exchange of information and views”. Still, he states that “even this small step with the UNDP is better than nothing”. But key questions he delves into lie at the core of the ACP Group. While aware of the strong unity demonstrated by the members between 1975 and 2000 “when they found enough strength in their unity to secure advantageous aid, trade and investment treaties with the EU”, the author states that the ACP members “allowed the EU to fragment them in the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)”, which has led, in his opinion, to an unfair arrangement.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will allocate US$30 million for the upgrade of a project designed to improve regional energy distribution and double electricity transmission capacity between the Victoria Falls hydro-power station and Lusaka, Zambia. This deal, signed by the Zambian Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda, MPs, and senior officials from the European Investment Bank, is expected to help achieve the Millenium Developemnt Goals (MDGs) in that country.

EU Commissioner of Development Mr. A. Piebalgs represented the European Commission at the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the restoration of the Independence and swearing-in ceremony of the new elected President of Timor-Leste H.E. Taur Matan Ruak , following the invitation send by the former President of the country Jose Ramos Horta to President Barroso.

Taking into account the evolution of the Group’s relations with the EU and, accordingly, recent concerns, ambassadors from Samoa and Jamaica stress that unity and innovation among ACP members is needed. Additionally, as geopolitical shifts occur with the rise of emerging economies and current challenges such as climate change or food security, key discussions delve into the direction the ACP Group will take for the future.

Delegations of the ACP Group said their goodbyes to H.E Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, whose term as Dean of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors has ended, and who will now head up the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

As a prelude to the G8 Summit, the European Commission welcomed the May 18 launch of the "New Alliance to improve Food and nutrition security". The EU has been actively supporting the preparation of the "New Alliance",  which is intended to boost productivity, domestic and international private sector investments and supporting innovation and technology in Africa.

While criticism has dominated the EU's foreign policy in recent months, positive notes have appeared to prevail in the media last week. Following long negotiations, the first iEPA has come to pass: Four African countries, namely Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe,  will gradually open their markets to European exports over the course of 15 years. The trade and development agreement concluded by the EU and the aforementioned African countries takes effect. “This is excellent news and I salute the hard work of negotiators and colleagues on all sides. With this trade deal we hope to accompany the development of our partners in Eastern and Southern Africa and open up better and lasting business opportunities", praised EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
Good news also came out of the Caribbean region, as weeks after the visit of Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate General for DEVCO,  Guyana’s  parliamentarians have unanimously approved a motion ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The Pacific region did not go unnoticed either, as the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands,  Gordon Darcy Lilo, recalled the EU’s role as a “development driver”, and stressed that the EU would remain a key partner. He also noted that through Cotonou’s provisions  the Solomons receive substantial assistance in crucial areas of development, such as agriculture or climate change.

European Parliament
-21/24 May: Plenary session (Strasbourg)
-21 & 24 May: Committee on Foreign Affairs
-21 May: Committee on Fisheries
Council of Ministers
-23 May: Coreper I
-23 May: Coreper II
ACP Group
-21 May: Consultations on the Pan-African Road Map on Cotton
-21 May: Stakeholders’ Workshop on the UNDP-sponsored on Future Perspectives of the ACP Group
-21 May:  6th meeting on ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration
-22 May: Meeting of Brussels-and Geneva-Based representatives of ACP Cotton-Producing Countries
-22 May: 17th Meeting of the COS-Coton
-23/30 May : Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly (Horsens, Danemark)
Research Events
-21/24 May: Customs 2013 Workshop – The role of Customs in Environmental Protection (Rønne, Denmark)

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Although Uganda is often considered a mainly agricultural country, its recent performance has been assessed as being “disappointing”. According to an article by New vision, a lack of financing in the sector is resulting in the country's not being able to reach its full potential and become a major agricultural power in East Africa. Experts point to investment in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as being beneficial  for farmers. Likewise, greater public spending in the sector and clearer policies could lead to a very noticeable improvement.

Once more, tensions in Africa and China’s engagement in the continent, oblige the EU to re-evaluate its foreign policy. The Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) urged the EU to take action on the crises in West, Central and East Africa, particularly regarding the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan. AFET MEPs underlined China's role in Sudan – South Sudan relations, as the country  has been very active in the region.  Highlighting that the EU has been dragging its feet with regards to helping resolve the conflict, MEP Mario Mauro has asked the committee : “What is the EU's role here?”