The European Business Council for Africa

ECDPM's weekly update on EU - Africa relations and international cooperation 

Getting political leaders to agree on workable solutions to major challenges seems to get harder every week. Short-term calculations and political manoeuvring often eclipse the need to protect future generations. This week, we have two clear cases in point: the climate change talks taking place in Poland (COP24), and the discussions on the UN migration compact in Morocco. The outlook does not look promising and, in each case, one can lament the lack of leadership. But perhaps we should look into the deeper factors at play and analyse in detail what is being proposed, who is resisting change, why, and what alternatives exist. This is in large measure the role of think tanks like ECDPM.

One key example of this difficulty of collectively addressing long-term change is the next EU budget. How should it be structured? How can it be better geared towards future needs? And what will this mean for the EU’s work on development and its partnership with Africa? We started last week with a paper on programming, looking at the proposed new ‘single instrument’, and we continue this week with two more papers. Firstly, Alexei Jones, Emmanuel De Groof and Joanna Kahiluoto looked at the positions of the different European institutions in the fight to shape and manage the new financial instrument – the NDICI. Secondly, with our colleagues from the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), we take a more national perspective. The ETTG members hail from capitals across the Union and thus offer a clear sense of what each of these countries wants to get out of this new instrument and why.

Balancing national and regional perspectives is of course not just an issue for Europe. Africa continues to have a rich debate on precisely this dynamic – and for the past two years, our work on regional organisations in Africa has zoomed in on that. It is increasingly clear that water could be the next battleground. Therefore, attempts to coordinate and find common ground on how to best share this common resource are critical. The paper by Alfonso Medinilla has captured the challenges and options in the first of a new series of papers on the political economy dynamics of regional organisations in Africa.

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