Highlights of ECDPM activities in support of African Change Dynamics in 2012

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For an overview of publications and events in 2012, please click here.

Support for African institutional actors in implementing their policy agendas

In 2012, we continued our engagement with African stakeholders to consolidate implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and its operational arm, the African Governance Platform. ECDPM’s support entailed close interaction with African partners and providing them with informal technical support to refine specific areas of the proposed plan and ensure added value. Our work focused, for example, on enhancing institutional linkages between the AGA and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as well as technical input into the development of a compliance monitoring framework on governance. In this respect, ECDPM worked jointly with key African organisations, such as the African Governance Institute. However, due to the deadlock over the new AUC leadership in the first half of the year - and the subsequent institutional adjustments - the pace of implementation slowed down in 2012. This in turn had an impact on the level of demand that we received. 

The Africa Programme team seized a strategic opportunity to engage with the African Development Bank on the latter’s institutional support programmes at country and regional level. Through our involvement in an internal evaluation of the Bank’s operations, we looked at efforts being undertaken to build institutional capacity to deliver on governance reforms and how the nature and modalities of support could be optimised for improved results. The evaluation is due to be finalised in the first half of 2013. 

In addition, we continued to monitor progress on several issues relevant to Africa’s integration, chief of which was the ongoing efforts to mobilise domestic sources of financing for the African Union. We contributed to several fora deliberating on new dynamics in the continent, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual gathering on youth and development in Africa and the AGI-AUC conference on Africa’s governance trends. 

Improving understanding of the local dynamics of governance for development in sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa

ECDPM has gradually expanded its geographical coverage to North Africa, moving beyond its traditional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. As popular demand for democratic reform swept through the region, it became apparent that the trajectory of change would be quite different for each country. We therefore chose to go ‘back to basics’ in order to better understand the political economy factors underpinning changes. In collaboration with our local partners, we embarked on an in-depth analysis of the actors’ dynamics, the incentives at play, power contestations and interests that were contributing to these differences. Our team embarked on a study and engaged in consultations to explore the political economy of reforms in North Africa (to be finalised at the end of 2013), with an initial country focus on Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. This body of work is particularly relevant to our efforts to link country processes to support provided by the EU and other international partners. 

ECDPM was also called upon to provide informal input to the EU Commission on support mechanisms for civil society in North Africa. Based on the experience we gained in other regions, including the ACP, and through previous involvement in the evaluation of European support to civil society, in North African countries and elsewhere, we were able to draft a note on key issues to be considered in designing such support. We were further invited to participate in several discussions related to the establishment of the European Endowment Fund (EED), which aims to support political actors in Northern African countries.

Facilitation of dialogue between Africa and the EU on their respective agendas in relation to governance for development

Discussions on the revision of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) provided an anchor for our work under this pillar in 2012. The new leadership of the AUC has pushed for a strategic reflection on the future of the EU-AU partnership. In Europe, the negotiations around the EU’s budget 2014-2020 budget and the a proposal of by the European Commission to establish a dedicated Pan-African Programme to finance the operations of the JAES have also given impetus to the internal EU debate on the future of its partnership with Africa. 

On several occasions, ECDPM was called upon by its African and European partners to provide informal feedback on the ongoing discussions. In the first half of 2012, ECDPM facilitated an informal discussion among European stakeholders to help reach agreement on the establishment of a financial envelope dedicated to EU’s partnership with Africa. The meeting was particularly appreciated by participants and contributed to moving the discussion forward. Subsequently, the European Parliament called on ECDPM to conduct a similar exercise with members of its Development Committee. 

ECDPM also sought to bridge the information gap between European and African stakeholders on the status of negotiations on the European budget and ongoing discussions on the future of the EU-AU partnership to help stimulate deeper reflections on both continents. In Africa, ECDPM has particularly engaged with the AUC and NPCA since they both are responsible for the implementation of different programmes that fall under the partnership framework (i.e. governance partnership, infrastructure, peace and security, etc.).