Europe has been Africa’s main trade, investment and aid partner for many years. However, the African landscape is rapidly changing. While Europe struggles with the financial, economic and euro crises, “Afro-pessimism” has given way to more optimistic views of Africa, not only among Africans, but also among international actors, particularly emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil(theBRICs).
Of course Africa still confronts major challenges, ranging from endemic poverty to institutional and economic weaknesses. Huge disparities remain within domestic economies and between African countries. If Africa is to unleash its development potential through balanced, equitable and sustainable investment, domestic resource mobilisation and employment creation, greater attention will have to be paid to improving economic governance and domestic accountability, at the local, national, regional and international levels, not least to free the private sector to engage with national, regional and international markets.
In 2012 we continued to expand our policy analysis activities and partnerships to explore institutional, political and social factors that drive sustainable economic transformation. We focused our efforts on building synergies between EU and African initiatives that aimed to foster domestic resource mobilisation and private sector development in an environmentally sustainable and equitable manner. In doing so, ECDPM was able to bring to the table its unique political economy approach to help policy actors become aware of the main drivers of change that need to be taken into account when designing and implementing economic governance programmes.
The Economic Governance team continued to actively collaborate with key African institutions, including the African Union and its implementing arm, the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
In Europe, we worked closely with various Directorates of the European Commission, the European Parliament, European Investment Bank and other EU institutions. We also worked with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. At the country level we collaborated with a cross-section of partners in more than 10 EU member states, as well as the United States and Canada. Internationally, we collaborated with diverse institutions including the OECD Development Centre, World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development DCED. Our private sector partners included BUSINESSEUROPE, World Gold Council and the Canada-EU Mining Council. We also continued our collaboration with research networks and civil society organisations such as Traidcraft, Eurodad, the Europe-Africa Policy Research Network, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis and the South Africa Institute of International Relation, among others.
Highlights of our activities in 2012
- After 10 years of publishing Trade Negotiations Insights, ECDPM launched in 2012 its new magazine, GREAT Insights, whose scope covers economic transformation and governance issues pertinent for Africa and Europe. Issues included cooperation with other institutions such as the OECD Development Centre and donor agencies, and included high-profile contributions, including from President Gebuza of Mozambique and European Commissioner Piebalgs.
- Given the relatively new practice of sourcing international development funding from the private-sector, we published a discussion paper in July 2012 on “Common or conflicting interests? Reflections on the Private Sector (for) Development Agenda”. We subsequently co-facilitated a conference in Brussels at which representatives of EU institutions, civil society and the private sector discussed how to measure the development impact of private sector involvement.
- Building on an earlier study, we organised a one-day workshop for an informal grouping of donors to further explore innovative financing mechanisms, particularly in the context of regional integration projects.
Click here for a detailed report of our programme activities in 2012.
| Key Outputs in 2012
- ECDPM analyses helped to clarify the different approaches to identifying and working with private-sector partners, particularly our well-received discussion paper Common or Conflicting Interests?.
- Our paper From Curse to Purse: Making Extractive Resources Work for Development (www.ecdpm.org/dp136) was a major input at the Eighth African Development Forum. Various international media subsequently featured our findings. That analysis also contributed to the Africa Mining Vision through a process led by the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.
- We contributed to the ACP Panel dialogue process to craft a roadmap for implementing a framework for action for mineral sector development. ECDPM’s inputs highlighted the need to seek synergies with existing financing mechanisms to ensure adequate funding for the planned projects.
- The World Gold Council (WGC) requested us to facilitate informed discussions towards a conflict-free gold standard.
- ECDPM launched a new bimonthly magazine, GREAT Insights covering economic transformation and governance issues pertinent to Africa and Europe. Among high-profile contributors were President Gebuza of Mozambique and European Commissioner Piebalgs.