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This document contains all comments received in the public consultation on the joint EU-Africa Strategy between 1 February and 26 June, 2007. Comments could be made both the English and French versions of the website. They are sorted according to where on the website they were posted, i.e. the following pages:
Shared vision 1
Key development issues 26
Trade & regional integration 44
Peace & security 53
About the EU-Africa consultation 60
On posts 74
Vision partagée 74
Commerce et intégration régionale 111
Paix et sécurité 115
A propos de la consultation UE-Afrique 123
Comments received between 1 February and 26 June, 2007
1. Victor Onoviran (Nigeria) - February 1, 2007
To be absolutely honest and fair to both Euro-African Leaders, there is hardly any “shared vision”! Neither in democracy, accountability, justice or economy. Otherwise why do you have social security in the West and poverty tax in the other? Why do you subsidize generously in Europe and use the IMF?World Bank, Paris/London Clubs to slam market prices on Africans? Why do you have prudent public servants and accountable elected officials as well as democracy-draped/obedient military in the West while their African counterparts are not only the direct opposite but are aided to loot/keep/launder public funds? Why is education/research & development such a big deal in the West but is being killed in Africa? Where will the manpower to motivate, mobilise, drive and sustain CHANGE, including the new joint-Strategy come from for us in Africa, in the face of the persistent/pernicious BRAIN & BRAWN DRAIN?
Does it mean we shouldn’t consult and help the new process for 21st century EU-Africa Partnership (even if it seems reactive!) as you now propose? Hell, no! We must. But we must do so from very fresh and innovative perspectives.
The vision must be redefined and owned. Luckily new leaders and actors/forces are emerging on both continents. These must be fully and truly embraced/engaged. I support these consultations.
For resounding success, you need to commission specific panels and experts (including anonymous/conscience actors) to fast-track and pigeon-hole/focalise the intervention. In particular because of time constraints.
And, believe me, I wish you all the best. Thanks for this independent initiative.
Submitted by Victor Onoviran (Nigeria)
see also http://www.onoviranseries.blogspot.com
2. Catherine Kithinji (Kenya) - February 6, 2007
What are the principles that should guide the Africa-EU partnership?
4. Time keeping
What agreements and mechanisms should be put in place to frame the relationship?
1. Trade and economic agreement to help improve trade between Europe and Africa without any side losing what it already has from the Cotonou Partnership Agreement
2. Medical and health agreements to enable easy access to medical facilities in Europe to save lives
3. Agriculture agreements to improve Africa’s main forex earner and employment sector of the economy
4. Services sector to enable free movement of services in the two continents
What are European and African common interests on which to base the Africa-EU partnership in the future?
1. Trade and Economic development
2. Agriculture, extension, research and development
4. Human resource development
How can the fragmented Europe-Africa relationship be overcome to enter into a continent to continent relationship that has practical meaning and value for both parties?
1. By deciding to consider both side’s requirements and trying to at least sort some out mutually and with the blessings from both sides
2. By training Africans with a view of developing their capacity to the same level as that of the Europeans to make them make informed decisions and meaningful contributions in debates concerning the two continents
3. By considering the important issues that affect the two continents and ignoring the diversities of the two continents, and taking issues as they come and treating them independently
What are some of the key issues that the two Unions should prioritize and seek to tackle together in their cooperation?
1. Common areas of interest
2. Priotise the interests
3. Involve all stakeholders from both continent
4. Avoid unnecessary delays in decision making from both sides
Lets work together for the benefit of our continent, at least to reduce poverty and dehuminization that is rampant in Africa.
3. Mustapha Sanneh (Italy) - February 12, 2007
The first link of any relation between AU and EU is the acceptance of proximity. Proximity in a shared language, geographical proximity and hundred years of relationship.
Multilateral, bilateral or global relationship should be a point of departure.
But transparancy should be the point. The creation of a mathematical module of valutation is a must. Past experience and good practice have showed that during the years millions of Euro or dollards have been spend for development projects. We are still here looking for still more better aid while we all know that the problem is a willingness to make changes happen.
Our contribution from Milano can be that of presenting a document and sustaining a meeting that will takle the problem of transparancy and e.government.
This will include all the arguments regarding the strategy to define what can be a shared vision between AE and EU.
Our best interest is to know and then prepare the solutions to what king of development will be best suited to Africa in this multilateral and global economy lead by China who might be our best partner if things dont change in time .
4. Muhwana Wilberforce - February 13, 2007
There should be transformation of unity among AU member states from just mere rhetoric to reality to be seen and felt that it is working, is being implemented. In past it has been rhetoric, only highlighted at some fora while AU members states place more importance on individual affairs, later on justifying the artificial causes/hindrances to emarcipation and promotion of unity. This must be inbult into the vision and stategy.
5. Lawrence Michelo (Zambia) - February 13, 2007
European Union is a good and genuine partner with firm belief in the ending of poverty in Africa. Some organisations have taken this assistance and good faith to bad use. At times due to lack of information, well intentioned programmes have ended fueling that which they are supposed to fight - in this case poverty. It is through information sharing, debating and making contributions that we can both make informed decisions and better choices that benefit everyone and make the world a better place.
6. Geert Laporte (ECDPM) - February 15, 2007
I would like to share some personal impressions from an interesting meeting that was held in Ouagadougou on 6-7 february 2007, that could also be relevant for the Joint EU-Africa strategy process.
Please read full comment:
7. Ingvar Flink (Sweden) - February 16, 2007
The current EU Africa strategy stipulates that succesful development requires adherence to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. I take it for granted that this includes international law. It is also underlined that without peace there can be no sustainable development and without African leadership to end African conflicts (good governance) there can be no lasting peace and security.
Considering these prerequisites put up by the EU Commission it is a surprise that the strategy document does not reflect the fact that Africa is not yet decolonised. According to the UN, AU and the International Court in the Hague Western Sahara is still a colony. The de jure colonial power is Spain and de facto Morocco, who since 1975 illegaly occupies two thirds of the Western Sahara territory, thereby breaking international law.
More than 80 states recognise Western Sahara as a sovereign state, no state recognises the Moroccan right to this territory.
A future common EU-AU strategy for Africa must not overlook the fact that Africa is not decolonised. According to a decision by the UN General Assembly colonialism is to be considered as a threat to world peace.
The situation in northwestern Africa is not stable. Since 1991 there is a ceasefire between the liberation front Polisario and the Moroccan occupants, but the basic situation is a war situation. If this state of affairs allows to prevail the instability will very easily deteriorate into war, or even worse - into terrorism as the situation created by the Moroccan occupation provides a fertile breeding ground for terrorism. The only guarantee against such a development is Polisario and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic government (SADR).
Apart from the problem of treating Africa as a unit it must be noted that Morocco is not a member of the AU. The vice president of the AU is the president of SADR. Morocco is by their acting in Western Sahara splitting the Afrcian unity, making it problematic for EU to treat Africa as one entity.
A common EU foreign policy, of which a strategy for Africa is a part, is vital for a future EU. It is of extreme importance that such a policy will practice international law and not work against it. Therefore EU must in its Africa strategy in accordance with the decisions on Western Sahara taken by the International Court in 1975 and by the UN Security Council at several occasions since then.
8. Rogier van 't Rood (Netherlands) - February 17, 2007
To my experience most African professionals in education I met so far, still keep the “European format” of formal education as a guiding principle (and so do many western consultants). This format was introduced during colonial rule and it was more or less just a copy of European systems at the time. Already in those days this system was not capable of servicing all African children, neither quantitative nor qualitative. When it was introduced in Europe, the European countries were (and still are) able to finance it by themselves, due to their strong economies and reliable state structures. Most probably, formal education as it functions in Africa today, will never be capable to reach the Millennium Goals. Therefore, I would like to suggest to “rethink” the format of formal education, and relate it properly to real needs and possibilities in Africa. Maybe Africa is in need for a new paradigm on education? It would be another step towards de-colonisation, wouldn’t it …?
Rogier van ‘t Rood is an education consultant
9. ecdpm - February 22, 2007
Reply to Gbolahan Olubowale (Nigeria), a comment of the role of ECDPM in this process.
“It is a pity that ecdpm secretariat does not include any credible African voice and this is urgently needed for the whole process to be adjudged credible.”
Read the full comment.
Following some comments on the role of ECDPM in this process, we would like to clarify a few points. The Internet consultation on the future EU-Africa joint Strategy has been jointly launched by the European Union and the African Union (see the common AUC-EC press statement) the 6th of March. ECDPM has been mandated by both the African Union Commission and the European Commission to facilitate on their behalf the Internet consultation as an independent foundation. In that context, ECDPM is collaborating very closely with both the relevant departments of the African Union Commission and the European Commission. Apart from the Internet consultation, some events will be organised on both continents to gather Non State Actors’ opinion on the future EU-Africa joint Strategy (see calendar).
10. Dominic Haslam - February 27, 2007
Disabled people make up approximately 10 per cent of any population (WHO) and 20 per cent of the world’s poorest (World Bank). Disability is both a cause and effect of poverty, and 82 per cent of disabled people live below the poverty line in developing countries (UN). These figures can be higher in countries devastated by civil war or natural disaster. The EU’s own guidance note on disability and development states that governments exclude persons with disabilities from their activities, a key governance issue. It also states that the MDGs cannot be reached without including the needs of people with disabilities and yet they are insufficiently included in the EU’s own development work.
In general, in its work in Africa, the EU must work to enshrine the principles in its own guidance note in all the work carried out and support delegations and programme decision-makers in implementing the 10 key recommendations.
11. ecdpm - February 28, 2007
On the French page, Dr. Tamokwé (Cameroon, 16/2) suggests a joint European-African strategy to increase the participation of the African Diaspora in the continent’s development. The discussions should be focused on how to create secure institutions that can stimulate investments in Africa by the Diaspora. This requires Europe to insure potential investors against the risk of expropriation by authorities and/or elites in the target countries.
Read the full comment in French
Maman Laminou Tata (Niger, 18/2) mentions that a shared European-African vision can only be defined if the following issues are addressed:
1. Interdependence in the context of globalisation;
2. Reciprocity between continents: the goals should be justice and equality among citizens.
3. Creating wealth: We should recognise the limitations of aiming purely for economic growth, which is increasingly unevenly divided among both continents and citizens.
4. Good governance is based on strong, universal values and should therefore have the same requirements (in terms of democracy, justice, etc.) everywhere.
5. Communication and intercultural dialogue: people will only identify with the official Euro-African relationship if exchanges of information and culture take place, as well as dialogues and mutual understanding.
6. The environment: nature does not keep itself to national or continental borders.
Read the full comment in French