This week, the fifth EU-Africa summit will take place on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Under the central theme “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”, African and European Heads of State and Government will gather together during two full days. This EU-Africa summit will be a key moment to strengthen political and economic ties between the two continents, to provide political guidance in order to address current challenges, and an opportunity for African and European leaders to reshape and deepen the EU-Africa partnership, launched in 2007 with the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).

And for this important moment of the EU-African partnership, civil society has been granted 6 minutes to speak. That’s 3 minutes for European civil society, 3 minutes for African civil society.

2017 is a defining year for EU-Africa relations as it has been ten years since the adoption of the JAES. The JAES and its roadmap recalls the need to involve civil society in all processes to achieve the objectives developed by the partnership. Representatives of civil society organisations from Africa and Europe have stressed the importance of fostering a space for participation of civil society organisations on both continents as independent actors and integral partners within the JAES, ahead of the upcoming AU-EU Summit in Abidjan.

In this context, it is especially important for CONCORD Europe to share civil society’s positions on issues relevant to the EU-Africa Summit, including EU-Africa relations, migration and the role of the private sector in development. Please find them below.

Tunis Civil Society Declaration on EU-Africa relations

One of the major outcomes of the Civil Society Forum in Tunis on 11-12 July (bringing together European and African CSOs) is the Tunis Declaration on EU-Africa relations. This Declaration was signed and supported by CONCORD, a member of the European civil society steering group.

This Declaration stresses the importance of fostering space for civil society organisations of both continents as independent actors and integral partners within the Joint Africa-EU Partnership and Strategy (JAES). While migration, youth and gender are mainstreamed in the document, the joint declaration also contains a number of recommendations on five thematic areas:

  1. Conflict prevention, peace building and refugees;
  2. Democratic governance and civic participation;
  3. Human development;
  4. Decent work, universal social protection and social economic development
  5. Sustainable future for our planet in the context of climate change and natural disasters.

CONCORD paper: “CONCORD’s alternatives to 5 EU narratives on the EU-Africa partnership”

In this paper, CONCORD proposes a more in-depth vision on 5 specific themes that are at the core of EU’s policies towards Africa: migration, security, private sector, tax and trade, and youth. On each of these themes, CONCORD proposes 5 alternative narratives to the ones that the EU is currently promoting.

CONCORD Report: “A 10-Point Roadmap for Europe on the role of the private sector in development”

This report discusses the role of the private sector in development, and what the EU should do to ensure that the private sector contributes to – rather than hinders – sustainable development. This report compiles 10 areas for action for the EU and its Member States:

  1. Abandon the “one-size fits all” approach to the role of the private sector in development, and focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and social economy enterprises in local and regional value chains and trade.
  2. Adopt mechanisms to avoid the corporate capture of decision-making processes.
  3. Align the financial system with social and environmental agendas.
  4. Ensure the public delivery of essential services and acknowledge that private finance cannot be a substitute for gender-responsive public investment.
  5. Ensure companies pay their fair share of tax where they operate.
  6. Ensure the sustainability chapters of investment treaties are as enforceable as the provisions protecting investors.
  7. Ensure business enterprises operating outside the EU respect human rights and the environment and contribute to sustainable development.
  8. Reform EU competition law and set guidelines to allow for initiatives that increase sustainability collectively per sector without breaching EU competition law.
  9. Ensure the respect of development effectiveness principles.
  10. Ensure transparency and accountability when public finance is used to leverage private investments in developing countries.

CONCORD Report on the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

Launched in November 2015 at La Valletta and introduced as an innovative tool allowing for a more flexible response to the challenges posed by irregular migration, the EU Emergency Trust Fund is the main financial instrument for EU’s political engagement with African partners in the field of migration. The EUTF makes predominant use (90 percent) of Official Development Assistance (ODA), mostly from the European Development Fund, and as such, its implementation should be guided by the key principles of development effectiveness. Yet, on the basis of 3 country studies (Libya, Niger and Ethiopia), the preliminary research questions whether the EUTF’s implementation (in Libya and Niger) is actually guided by the key principles of development effectiveness, or if it constitutes a diversion of aid justified by the EU’s migration policy, namely in limiting the number of arrivals in Europe.

The full report will be launched later this year, but in the meantime, please read the summary available below.