CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
October 2019 - No. 627


An independent Report by the High-Level Group of Wise Persons on the European financial architecture for development – October 2019

Old and new global challenges are rapidly shaping the political landscape and in responding to them, the European Union urgently needs to rethink its policy priorities for external action and development. The broad EU development agenda and its contribution to the global goals require adequate political leadership and an EU influence in the world proportionate to its contribution.
With Decision (EU) 2019/597, the Council of the European Union established a High-level Group
of Wise Persons on the European financial architecture for development with the task of producing an independent report on the challenges and opportunities for improving and rationalising the European financial architecture for development and possible scenarios for its evolution.

Concerns about the effectiveness of the external development financing architecture of the European Union are not new. In evaluating the EIB's financing activities outside the EU, the 2010 Camdessus Report identified serious deficiencies in the broader system. To a certain extent they still remain, partly because there has been no decisive institutional follow-up on the recommendations of the report. But new development challenges and more ambitious international development goals are making the task more urgent. The review presented here has taken a system-wide perspective, considering all relevant European financial actors - the EIB, the EBRD and the financial instruments managed by the European Commission, as well as the work of European national development financing institutions. Our reflections build on the Camdessus Report, but our conclusions take account of the profound changes in and around Europe over the past decade which call for a thorough rethinking of the way development financing is organised at the European level.

In addition, the new EU institutional cycle and the EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027, currently under negotiation, provide an opportunity to improve the current system, notably in terms of development impact, effectiveness, additionality, reduction of overlaps and improvement of value for money. The present report presents the conclusions and recommendations of the High-Level Group based on deliberations which took place between April and September 2019 and which benefited from consultations with a number of relevant stakeholders.

Source: European Commission, October 2019

Featured CTA partner

EU trade agreements: delivering new opportunities in time of global economic uncertainties

Despite the difficult global economic climate, European companies have continued to make good use of the opportunities created by the European Union's trade network - the largest in the world. In 2018 this network covered 31% of Europe's trade exchanges, a figure that is set to rise significantly (to almost 40%) as more trade agreements enter into force, according to the European Commission's annual report on the implementation of trade agreements released today. Overall, trade accounts for 35% of the EU's gross domestic product (GDP).
In 2018 EU exports to and imports from trade agreement partners showed positive developments, with a continued growth of 2% and 4.6% respectively, with a strong performance of EU agri-food exports. The EU's growing network of trade agreements is creating economic opportunities for workers across Europe, with over 36 million jobs being supported by exports to outside of the EU. The EU recorded a surplus of €84.6 billion in trade in goods with its trade agreement partners, compared to its overall trade deficit with the rest of the world of about €24.6 billion.
At present, the EU has in place the largest trade network in the world, with 41 trade agreements covering 72 countries. Types of EU trade agreements include:
  • “first generation" agreements, negotiated before 2006, that focus on tariff elimination;
  • "second generation" agreements, that extend to new areas, including intellectual property rights, services and sustainable development;
  • Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) that create stronger economic links between the EU and its neighbouring countries;
  • Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) focusing on development needs of African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Source: European Commission, 14 October 2019

Strategic Events

Brussels Briefing n. 57: “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and

The Brussels Development Briefing n. 57 on “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition” organised by CTA, the European Commission/EuropeAid and the ACP Secretariat was held on Wednesday 11th September 2019, 9h00-13h00 at the ACP Secretariat. It attracted 220 participants. The Briefing discussed smallholder agriculture and its key role in delivering food security/nutrition, and sustainable food systems, as recognised in SDG 2.

Discussions centred around the frameworks and processes needed to promote inclusive smallholder agricultural production that contributes to sustainable food systems. The challenges of productivity, profitability, equity and sustainability of smallholder agriculture need to be addressed. Examples of successes from smallholders in various sectors and value chains were used to make the case for further support to smallholder-driven agriculture, with an evaluation of the factors for success, their replicability, and potential for upscaling of best practices.

Read here the Highlights

All presentations and videos are here


EUR 50 million boost for research and innovation in the ACP countries

Science, technology and innovation (STI) are increasingly recognised as key drivers of sustainable and inclusive development across the world. Moreover, STI are vital to help achieve the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals and provide solutions to pressing societal and economic challenges.
It is against this shared understanding that the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) have agreed to launch the ACP Innovation Fund, a substantial effort to boost and optimise STI capacities in the countries concerned.
The ACP Innovation Fund is a key component of the new "ACP-EU Programme to strengthen Research and Innovation capacity in ACP countries". The new programme is to improve the capacity of research and innovation stakeholders, policy development and knowledge transfer. The ultimate goal of the programme is to have a structuring effect on the innovation-ecosystems and capabilities of ACP countries.
Through this programme, the ACP and the EU will make available a budget of €50,000,000 to advance solutions to the following challenges:
-Digital literacy, knowledge and use of emerging technologies;
-Effective links between research and innovation skills development and labour market demand;
-Synergies in the Research and Innovation (R&I) ecosystem in particular with the private sector; facilitating conditions for technology transfer; promoting R&I uptake;
-Promoting local and indigenous knowledge and its use in combination with formal knowledge systems and practices.
The ACP Innovation Fund is based on a mechanism of redistribution of resources. Proposed actions have to be centred on supporting ACP research and innovation actors both financially – at least 65% of the grant must be redistributed to so-called "third parties" – and technically, through transfer of skills, know-how and experience.
Third parties are organisations established in one ACP Member State of the targeted region and with experience in managing research and innovation projects. Third parties can be, for instance: academic and research institutions, spin-offs, representatives of indigenous communities, agencies working for gender equality in research, innovation support organisations, start-ups.
Full details on the eligibility criteria for applicants and third parties are provided in the Guidelines to the call. All eligible organizations interested in applying are invited to submit a proposal by January 29, 2020. This is an open call for proposals, where all documents are submitted at the same time (concept note and full application).

Source: ACP Secretariat, 03 October 2019

French development aid: an insufficient increase to fight sustainably against global inequalities

The government has just published the figures of its draft Budget Bill, which forecasts an increase of 210 million euros in Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 2020, up 6.86% compared to the previous year. For Coordination SUD, this increase is clearly insufficient to meet both the President’s commitments, and the challenges of development and international solidarity. The resources allocated to this policy should be significantly increased, and Parliament must now take up the challenge.
Coordination SUD therefore calls on Members of Parliament to seize the opportunity to step up France’s ambition in the area of development aid, and to increase the resources allocated to it by:

  • Allocating all revenue from the financial transaction tax to Official Development Assistance from 2020 onwards;
  • Increasing the rate of this tax from 0.3% to 0.5%.
Source:, 27 September 2019
Zimbabwe - EU trade relations

Opportunity to deepen its re-engagement efforts with some Western countries after Harare last week became part of five African countries that launched negotiations with the European Union (EU) Commission to deepen ties under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) partnership.

Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles (ESA-5) took part at the inaugural meeting with the EU Commission in Mauritius last week.

The high-level indaba deliberated strategies to boost trade and diversifying engagement under the EPA and Eastern and Southern African (ESA) trade pact which has been in existence since 2002, but was limited in scope.

Source: SundayMail, 6 October 2019
 EU to monitor trade benefits in Fiji and the Pacific

A monitoring system will be soon be put in place to see how Fiji’s trade with the European market impacts development in the country. This comes as Fiji has been able to increase trade to the European market over the past decade through the European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreement.

The partnership agreement allows for Fiji and four other Pacific Nations to export products to the European market with free tariffs and quotas. European Commission, Co-Chair Erja Askola says the monitoring mechanism will be set up in each of their partner countries as development is something that comes with the economic partnership agreement.

Askola also highlighted that the EU tackles all these issues in partnership with institutions that are in place with governments and also reach out to the private sector and civil society to get a full picture of the work happening on the ground.

Source: FBC News, 03 October 2019
EU provides extra €9 million to support FAO’s work promoting nature-friendly agricultural practices in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Qu Dongyu, signed on 14th October 2019 a new agreement which will see the EU provide an additional €9 million to support the UN agency’s work in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

In particular, the funding will boost the efforts of countries in the targeted regions to bring about sustainable changes in agricultural policies and practices to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and natural resources. These efforts will assist these regions in tackling land degradation and desertification, and bolster food security and resilience to climate change.

The contract is part of a broader EU support programme promoting environmental sustainability in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries via stronger environmental governance and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements like the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Source: European Commission, 14 October 2019
Mozambique: EU channels further €10 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission is mobilising an additional €10 million in humanitarian assistance for the many still dealing with the consequences of the two unprecedented tropical cyclones that hit Mozambique in 2019. The new humanitarian aid package announced today will increase funding for:
-Emergency food aid and nutritional support.
-Health care: EU funds will help the functioning of referral and emergency services in health centres that are serving cyclone-hit areas.
-Disaster preparedness: stockpiling emergency kits at strategic locations throughout the country, so they are immediately available if another natural disaster strikes.

The EU had already allocated €11 million in 2019 in previous aid packages for disaster relief in the immediate aftermath of the tropical cyclones as well as for preparedness measures. In addition, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated with EU Member States sending some 60,000 relief items, search and rescue teams, communications support, medical services and water treatment, and a coordination support team of EU experts. The European Union financed 75% of the transport costs of these teams and equipment, amounting to more than €4 million.

Source: European Commission, 10 October 2019
Africa-Europe Alliance in action: Digitalisation project launched in Central African Republic

An ambitious digitalisation project was launched in the Central African Republic (CAR). It will provide improved broadband access both within the CAR and with neighbouring countries to promote regional interconnectivity. The project is supported through the EU’s ‘blending’ mechanism, meaning that EU grants are used to leverage further investment. The EU has contributed €17 million to this project, leading to a total investment of €33.7 million.

The Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project aims to install terrestrial optical fibre links that interconnect the countries of Central Africa in order to provide high-speed broadband internet access. Each country of the region is implementing cross-border interconnections in order to eliminate the missing links. The project will finance ICT infrastructure, ICT applications and services, institutional support, capacity building and project management.

Source: European Commission, 07 October 2019

Key resources

Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa; World Bank 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa's turnaround over the past couple of decades has been dramatic. After many years in decline, the continent's economy picked up in the mid-1990s. Along with this macroeconomic growth, people became healthier, many more youngsters attended schools, and the rate of extreme poverty declined from 54 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2015. Political and social freedoms expanded, and gender equality advanced. Conflict in the region also subsided, although it still claims thousands of civilian lives in some countries and still drives pressing numbers of displaced persons.

Despite Africa’s widespread economic and social welfare accomplishments, the region’s challenges remain daunting: Economic growth has slowed in recent years. Poverty rates in many countries are the highest in the world. And notably, the number of poor in Africa is rising because of population growth. From a global perspective, the biggest concentration of poverty has shifted from South Asia to Africa.

Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa explores critical policy entry points to address the demographic, societal, and political drivers of poverty; improve income-earning opportunities both on and off the farm; and better mobilize resources for the poor. It looks beyond macroeconomic stability and growth—critical yet insufficient components of these objectives—to ask what more could be done and where policy makers should focus their attention to speed up poverty reduction.

The pro-poor policy agenda advanced in this volume requires not only economic growth where the poor work and live, but also mitigation of the many risks to which African households are exposed. As such, this report takes a "jobs" lens to its task. It focuses squarely on the productivity and livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable—that is, what it will take to increase their earnings. Finally, it presents a road map for financing the poverty and development agenda.

Source: The world bank Group

Worker’s Rights in Supermarket Supply Chains – OXFAM, October 2019

More than 80 NGOs and trade organisations called on the EU institutions to deliver new legislation that establishes a mandatory human rights and environmental framework for businesses and companies operating and offering products or services in the EU.

new report released on Thursday (10 October) by Oxfam revealed that many of the people producing the food on sale in European supermarkets are victims of poverty pay, harsh working conditions, gender discrimination, and human rights abuses.

Source: OXFAM, October 2019

FAO The State of Food and Agriculture 2019. Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction

Key argument in this report is that the linkages between food loss and waste, on the one hand, and food security and environmental impacts, on the other, are complex and need to be thoroughly understood. Positive outcomes from reducing food loss and waste are far from guaranteed, and the impacts will differ according to where food loss and waste is reduced. It is exactly for this reason that policymakers need to be clear about the objectives they choose to pursue. Focusing on one objective will indeed have implications for where food loss and waste reductions can be most effective.

Source: FAO, 2019


ETTG - An Agenda for Europe in the World
31 October 2019
11h54 - 14h00
Press Club, Rue Froissart 95
1000 Brussels
Meeting with Civil Society: Civil Society Dialogue on Rules of Origin and Foreign Direct Investment Screening

07 November 2019
Conference Center Albert Borschette, Room 2.B, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels
Registration closes on: 04/11/2019 12:00

EU Organic Regulation (EU) 2018/848 and implementing acts may have on small farmers from outside the EU.
Webinar on 8 November, follow this link:
This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Félix Ajong (
Technical support: Thierry Lewyllie (

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
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