From the category archives:

International external assistance and aid effectiveness

July 5, 2012

EU negotiates future development funding: where will the money go?

Posted: 15:58 PM UTC

by Ulrika Kilnes on July 5, 2012

For those concerned with development and Africa, the three big questions during the EU budget negotiations are: “how much money is going to be available?”, “what is it going to be for?” and “which countries are going to get it?”. One year has passed since the EU institutions started the cycle of negotiations for its next multiannual financial framework (MFF) covering the period 2014-2020. A key round of talks took place last week. Negotiations between Member States’ ministers are mostly centred on the “big ticket items” of spending inside the EU – Cohesion Policy and ...


June 22, 2012

Southern Mediterranean NGOs and the quest for a new social contract in the region

Posted: 12:11 PM UTC

by Nicola Tissi on June 22, 2012

Few would question the importance of civil society’s role in the events of the Arab Spring, especially in Tunisia and Egypt. Non-state actors were a catalyst for change, particularly as they were vocal in calling for more democratic participation, for government accountability and for a legal framework ensuring the respect of human rights. However, now that transitions away from authoritarian rule have been set in motion (to different degrees), in many instances Arab civil society faces the difficult task to put forward a new, enduring, development agenda. This is all but an easy quest, and ...


June 21, 2012

Private sector & development: can we blend great expectations with a willingness to fail?

Posted: 18:10 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on June 21, 2012

“Getting more bang for the development Euro” is not usually how we talk about “enhancing aid effectiveness”, but this was the title of a session from a recent Friends of Europe roundtable.  While involving the private sector more closely in development might therefore bring new jargon as well as additional finance, the discussion highlighted two other important issues: the high expectations that donors and the private sector have from one another, as well as the need for donors to manage potential failure and to improve their adaptability… Temper expectations Private sector representatives at the roundtable ...


June 15, 2012

Private sector for development is the “new black”

Posted: 15:05 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on June 15, 2012

Promoting private sector development in poor countries and engaging with firms for achieving development ends is very much in fashion. In development circles, round tables and events discussing public-private partnerships are springing up more and more. Recently, a participant at one of these asked, “How much of this is actually new?” But further, what would have to happen to make any new engagement with the private sector more widely acceptable and effective? The private sector has always had a key role in development through providing jobs and incomes. It has also  “engaged” with governments through ...


June 15, 2012

EU support to regional integration: between cuts and ‘unfailing’ commitment

Posted: 14:13 PM UTC

by Kathleen van Hove on June 15, 2012

Despite being hit by the current economic and financial crisis, Europe remains a strong advocate and keen supporter of deep regional integration, at home and abroad. In Africa, the arguments for fostering integration are manifold; from building larger markets that can attract Foreign Direct Investments, achieving economies of scale, enhancing competitiveness, to fundamental security considerations. Today there are a host of ambitious integration arrangements among African states, many of them overlapping in space and scope. However the track record is quite disappointing for a variety of reasons. What could the EU do to improve this ...


June 8, 2012

Charting change at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Posted: 13:54 PM UTC

by Andrew Sherriff on June 8, 2012

Organisational charts in general can’t tell you much about what happens behind the scenes in a company or an institution. They don’t show who is in or out of favour, they don’t map influence and informal lines of communication dictating priorities.  However, when looking at previous versions and updates, they help to understand how an organisation is evolving, or at least the formal thinking about how it should. Last week the EEAS published a new version of its organisational chart (dated 1st of May 2012), displaying its internal structure and stating the names of key ...


June 8, 2012

SPRING programme 9 months on: time for much needed stock taking

Posted: 12:31 PM UTC

by Nicola Tissi on June 8, 2012

In response to the wave of change unfolding in its Southern Neighbourhood, the EU announced several initiatives reacting to the transitions in the region.  While my colleagues Faten Aggad and Alisa Herrero Cangas already gave a broad overview of EU’s initiatives in the region, I now focus on one of them, the SPRING programme (Support to Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth), adopted in September 2011. It earmarked € 350 Million to sustain the momentum building up in the Arab world, seizing the opportunity to support democracy and market-oriented economic reforms in the region. The EU’s ...

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June 2, 2012

Aid and beyond: 3 ways to promote development in an economic downturn…

Posted: 15:15 PM UTC

by Niels Keijzer on June 2, 2012

This post was published in Spanish on the El Pais blog ’3500 Millones‘. Andrew Sherriff co-authored it. Despite repeated (re-)commitments to provide 0.7% of Europe’s collective Gross National Income as aid (i.e. Official Development Assistance), ODA budgets are going down across Europe, the cuts in Spain being an extreme example. Yet in this rapidly changing world the question arises whether ODA remains the most important thing for the poorest in developing countries. Is there anything else Europe should be doing more? Some see the decrease in aid as wilful neglect undermining European credibility given the ...


May 16, 2012

Modernising EU budget support or overloading the boat?

Posted: 15:05 PM UTC

by Jan Vanheukelom on May 16, 2012

Dr. Nadia Molenaers co-authored this article. ++ SERIES: ECDPM ANALYSIS OF NEW EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY REFORM PROPOSALS ++ On 14 May the EU Council of Ministers adopted a new policy on providing budget support – a composite aid modality that involves financial transfers to partner countries’ treasuries, capacity development, policy dialogue and a results focus. This policy introduces a fundamental shift in the use of budget support. In contrast with the former policy, budget support will no longer be exclusively linked to poverty reduction and growth objectives, but also to the promotion of human rights ...


May 16, 2012

Changes in the EU’s “Agenda for Change”?

Posted: 14:05 PM UTC

by Niels Keijzer on May 16, 2012

++ SERIES: ECDPM ANALYSIS OF NEW EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY REFORM PROPOSALS ++ European Development Cooperation Ministers adopted a five-page statement on Monday entitled ‘Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change’. The journey towards this political statement started in November 2010, when the European Commission (EC) published a green paper that formed the basis for an extensive public consultation which led to the adoption of the EC’s proposal for the Agenda for Change in October 2011. Last year ECDPM analysed the policy reform proposals on this blog. EU Member States’ discussed the ...