CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
September 2019 - No. 622


No reset on EU-Africa relations under von der Leyen

Speculation that Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen could appoint a Commissioner specifically for Africa turned out to be much ado about almost nothing, if her team of Commission nominees unveiled last week is anything to go by.
The three Commissioners dealing with EU-Africa relations will be the Foreign Affairs High Representative, Josep Borrell; the Commissioner for ‘Protecting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, whose portfolio includes migration control; and International Partnerships Commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen.
The only significant change is the replacement of the ‘Development’ Commissioner with a Commissioner for ‘international partnerships’, and it is unclear whether this marks a rhetorical or substantive change.The emphasis on ‘partnerships’ rather than ‘development’ potentially signals a shift away from traditional donor/recipient relations, and the nomination of Urpilainen, a Finnish parliamentarian who served as her country’s special envoy to Ethiopia, has been widely welcomed.
The Finnish Commissioner-designate “recognises the importance of the future relationship between Africa and Europe and the need for a genuine strategic partnership between the two continents that harnesses the potential of Africa’s growing youth population,” said Emily Wigens, director of ONE’s European election campaign.
CONCORD director, Tanya Cox, also said there was a positive side to the new portfolio – “it is less neo-colonial (sounding)”.  But she pointed out that the ‘International Partnerships’ the von der Leyen Commission has in mind will not deal with advanced economies.In her opening statements, von der Leyen talked of the EU being a ‘neighbour’ and ‘partner’ with the African continent, rhetoric similar to that used by her predecessor.
Jean-Claude Juncker waited until his ‘State of the Union’ speech in September 2018 to show any interest in EU-Africa relations, surprising many with the offer of a ‘partnership of equals’, based around a continent-to-continent trade deal.That rhetoric has yet to be followed up. The EU executive has provided €50 million to fund technical support for the African Union’s team tasked with drawing up regulatory standards for the African Continent Free Trade Agreement. However, the prospects of an EU-Africa trade and political agreement appear to be distant. “The Europeans will have to decide for themselves on how they want to engage,” said Carlos Lopes, the African Union Commission’s high representative on Cotonou, a treaty between the EU and Africa, Carribean and Pacific states. The rhetoric is “all very nice and welcome”, says Lopes, “but these promises are not grounded in a continent-continent instrument.”
The Juncker Commission has been increasingly defensive about China’s emergence as Africa’s main partner when it comes to trade, investment and politics, setting up a European External Investment Programme and Trust Fund for Africa, both oriented around leveraging public money to generate private investment. This mindset seems set to continue, which means development policy could lose out.
“The emphasis on ‘value for money’ is very worrying,” said Cox. “There is an innate contradiction to this. It’s very hard to reach the most left beyond.”
“I do question whether she (von der Leyen) fully understands sustainable development,” she added. The von der Leyen Commission’s first Africa-related priority will be to finalise the successor to the Cotonou Agreement, which includes 51 of the 54 African states.
The Agreement expires in 2020 and a June deadline lapsed without agreeing a new accord. Talks moved slowly in the first six months of 2019 and will not begin again in earnest until the new European Commission takes office in November.
In the meantime, the Commission faces its own internal power struggle vis à vis Africa and development policy. The European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, is anxious to establish a more strategic relationship between the EU and the African continent, but DG DEVCO is leading on the post-Cotonou talks.

Read the full article here

Featured CTA partner

Annick Sezibera – Executive Secretary, CAPAD, Burundi

Annick Sezibera is Executive Secretary of the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers for Development (CAPAD) in Burundi. The organization was created with the aim of strengthening the capacities of farmers' organizations with the aim of pooling available human resources in rural areas to fight against poverty and support the emergence of peasant leadership. CAPAD works on: (i) the intensification of agriculture and livestock production; the promotion of the rural entrepreneurship and search of new markets; extension and advice services as well as knowledge management to the members and strengthening organisational capacities of the members, especially financial and administrative skills.
Annick has demonstrated strong leadership skills strengthening the capacities of the members of CAPAD, finding new markets for agricultural products and designing strategic partnerships. She has also introduced ICTs use in many of the farmers groups with the view to optimise production and quality.
While in Brussels to participate as a speaker on the latest Brussels Development Briefing on « Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition» Ms. Sezibera gave an interview about the work of CAPAD towards empowering women farmers.
Click here to watch her interview in French
Click here to watch her presentation in English

Strategic Events

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

The latest 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 at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels. 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.  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.
The Briefing was divided in two panels: Contribution of smallholder agriculture to food and nutrition security and sustainable food systems; and, Successes from smallholder agriculture and lessons learned. In the first panel the speakers discussed how smallholder agriculture contributes to sustainable food systems and what are the main strengths and challenges they face. The experts shared their views on the framework, challenges and opportunities for a more smallholder supportive approach. The speakers at this panel were the following experts: Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, Professor at Wageningen University; Nora McKeon, Professor, Rome 3 University; Roberto Ridolfi, Assistant Director-General, Support & Technical Cooperation, FAO and Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of PAFO and EAFF.  
During the second panel, another four experts presented some successes from smallholder agriculture across ACP regions, the drivers of success and shared lessons learned from some sustainable models. Take a look at their names: Marco Dekker, STARS Program, ICCO; Mamadou Goita, Executive Director, IRPAD; Kola Masha, Managing Partner of Babban Gona, Nigeria and Annick Sezibera, Executive Secretary, CAPAD, Burundi.
Access our website and check all the relevant information from the Briefing, such as, Background Note, Programme, pictures, video recordings and access to the presentations given by the experts.


Erasmus+: EU boosts participation of African students and staff in 2019

The EU has invested an additional €17.6 million to support over 8,500 newly selected African students and staff to participate in Erasmus+ in 2019. This increase in Erasmus+ funding is one more step towards the commitment announced by President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union speech in September 2018 to have supported 35,000 African students and researchers by 2020.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “Our Africa-Europe Alliance is first and foremost about people. We want to invest in quality education in Africa. We want to strengthen the connections between European and African students and higher education institutions. Giving them the chance to exchange know-how and inspire one another will boost inclusive socio-economic growth, and reduce poverty and inequality. On top of this, it will equip African students with the skills they need to find decent jobs”.
The results of the 2019 Erasmus+ call bring the total number of exchanges between Africa and Europe to 26,247 since the beginning of the programme in 2014 and well on track to meeting the 2020 target of supporting 35,000 people as announced in the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. This year, 8,555 African and 4,649 European university students and staff will benefit from exchanges in 53 African countries and the 34 European countries that participate in the Erasmus+ programme. Students will be able to stay abroad for up to one year, while staff exchanges last up to two months.
The additional funding of €17.6 million – coming from the Commission's external financial instruments and the EU Trust Fund for Africa –has boosted participation by African nationals by 40% overall. For countries in Western Africa and the Horn of Africa, the number of scholarships has more than doubled thanks to the additional money. It has also made it possible to include more countries in the programme, such as Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo and Burundi, and to increase the number of exchanges, in particular for Benin, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Somalia.

Source: European Commission, 12 September 2019

Have your say on the next generation of ambitious research and innovation partnerships

How can the EU best support impactful, inclusive research and innovation partnerships with industry, Member States and other stakeholders? Now you can share your views on the 12 proposed institutionalised partnerships under Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027). The consultation is a key step in assessing the overall need for and focus of specific research and innovation partnerships.
Research and innovation partnerships play a crucial role in tackling global challenges, from pioneering new ways to control disease outbreaks to developing greener public transport and speeding up the use of bio-based renewable products. They provide a strong added value in their ability to leverage resources and pool expertise across sectors, and to generate impact.
The proposed partnerships cover the following topics:
  • EU-Africa research partnership on health security to tackle infectious diseases
  • Innovative Health Initiative
  • Key Digital Technologies
  • Smart Networks and Services
  • European Metrology
  • Transforming Europe's rail system
  • Integrated Air Traffic Management
  • Clean Aviation
  • Circular bio-based Europe
  • Clean Hydrogen
  • Safe and Automated Road Transport
  • Innovative SMEs
The input collected will feed into the impact assessment work for these candidate partnerships, together with earlier feedback gathered on the inception impact assessments published in July. Additionally, partnerships will be discussed during a dedicated session at the European Research and Innovation Days on 26 September 2019.
The Commission invites anyone with an interest in future research and innovation partnerships to participate in the survey, which will close on 6 November 2019.

Source:  European Commisson, 11 September 2019
EU Trade Seminar to Explore Benefits of EPA

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a trade and development agreement between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU. The objectives of the EPA are to promote sustainable development and the gradual integration of Pacific States into the world economy. The Agreement aims at establishing a free trade area between the parties through progressive liberalisation, taking into account the specific needs and capacity constraints of the Pacific States. The EPA covers trade in goods.
The EPA between the EU and Pacific ACP States was signed by PNG in July 2009 and by Fiji in December 2009. This Agreement has been applied by PNG since 2011 and by Fiji since 2014.
Ahead of the seminar, the EU Ambassador for the Pacific, H.E. Sujiro Seam said:  ''The EU is the world’s largest single market and the EPA provides for free access into the EU for products from Fiji and PNG. This market access advantage in PNG has triggered five new investments that have generated 50,000 new jobs, many of them for women. Fiji has also signed the EPA and enjoys similar advantages. For example, duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market for processed fish, regardless of where that fish is caught.''
''In the Pacific, Fiji is one of the largest trading partners of the EU. Fiji's main exports to the EU are raw cane sugar, other agricultural products and fish. The EPA offers opportunities for diversification and strengthening of our economic ties. It generates income and jobs in the private sector. It is a true partnership for trade and development. The EPA is one of the EU's main tools to assist developing countries, such as Fiji, on their path to economic growth and diversification of their economies." added Ambassador Seam.

Source: EEAS, 16 September 2019
Humanitarian aid: over €34 million in African Great Lakes region

The European Commission has announced €34.275 million in humanitarian funding to help the most vulnerable people in the Great Lakes region in Africa. The aid will mainly help address urgent humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo and provide continued support to Burundian refugees in the region.
The bulk of the funding announced supports humanitarian measurse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (€29.375 million) and refugees from Burundi in Tanzania and Rwanda (€4.3 million). The remaining €600,000 are allocated to UN agencies in Burundi and to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in neighbouring Republic of Congo.
Africa's Great Lakes region continues to face armed conflicts and insecurity, leading to forced displacements, food shortages and undernutrition, and recurrent outbreaks of epidemics and natural disasters. The funding announced today brings the overall amount of EU humanitarian aid in the Great Lakes region in 2019 to €69.74 million.

Source: EC, 18 September 2019
Nigeria: How Nigeria Was Schemed Out of €15 Million EU-Funded Fisheries Project

There are insinuations that Nigeria may have been schemed out of €15 million (N6 billion) European Union (EU)-funded project designed for the development and improvement of fisheries activities in the West African sub-region by the francophone countries.
The project is informed by the belief that contribution of fisheries to the economic development of West Africa is sub-optimal and the current governance of fisheries threatens food security, means of subsistence and marine biodiversity, hence EU is providing support to the fight against illegal fishing in West Africa.
Also, the project, funded under the European Development Fund (EDF), was aimed to improve regional fisheries governance in West Africa and this would include developing a regional fishing policy, putting in place regional coordination against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and improving fish stock management at regional level.
As THISDAY was reliably informed, the €15 million project is one of the many significant commitments to ocean conservation made by the EU at the 2017 Ocean Conference hosted by the EU in Malta.
Tagged: the EU-funded West Africa Fisheries Governance Improvement Project (PESCAO), it "aims at enhancing regional fisheries management by firstly, addressing regional fisheries policy at the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) level; secondly by building the capacities of competent national and regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) authorities to deter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; and thirdly demonstrating the added value of coordinated approaches for shared fisheries management."
Read the full article here

Source: All Africa, 16 September 2019

Key resources

Knowledge compendium on domestication of the Malabo Declaration

Agriculture has the potential to radically transform the African economy by contributing to a prosperous, inclusive and uplifting future for its people. To this end, African Heads of State and Government in 2014 adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. Among others, this served to re-affirm the commitments of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The Malabo Declaration repositioned agriculture as a priority on the continental development agenda. To achieve the ambitious goals and targets formulated in the Malabo Declaration, African Union Member States have endeavoured to develop and implement National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) at country level which take into account the processes and topics outlined in the vison. 


Long term trends across security and development in the Sahel

Following the 2013 French military intervention in Mali, significant attention has been paid to issues of security and development in the Sahel. The stability of Sahelian countries and the capacity of their governments to manage social change and resulting tensions have major security implications for migration flows, economic development, and health concerns both for local people and for the broader international community. The rise of violent religious extremism in the region and the varied efforts to curtail its spread have raised international alarm and prompted important resources to be invested by both domestic governments and foreign partners. This paper offers a broad overview of the current situation in the Sahel paying attention to the intersecting and overlapping issues of security and development. The paper then interrogates three central themes—poverty, migration, and conflict—adopting a historical perspective to examine long-term trends in the region.



European Research and Innovation Days
24-26 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Trade Expo
26 Sep - 28 Sep 2019
Union Halle Frankfurt, Germany
Click here for more info
European Week of Regions and Cities
More than six thousand people from all over Europe are expected to join the European Regions and Cities, this year under the headline "Regions and Cities: Pillars of the EU's Future".
7-10 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium
Registration Info
Food 2030: Nourishing people and nurturing the planet through sustainable health diets for all
Event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
16 October 2019
From 13:00
Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Briefing n.58 -  The opportunities of Regional Trade
23 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium

The 2019 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference
The Conference is a key annual opportunity for European stakeholders to engage and discuss the future of agriculture in Europe and the challenges that lie ahead.
10-11 December
Brussels, Belgium

This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

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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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