Tuesday, December 04, 2007

EU-Africa Summit 2007 in Lisbon: The Pre-Game Show Part I

Update December 5th:
A 'Heads Up' announcement for international journalists covering the EU-Africa Summit and a missing link to the European Commission

Journalist Andrew Ströhlein, the Director of Media and Information for the International Crisis Group, has a sobering message for European news networks, news editors and journalists who will be covering the upcoming summit in Lisbon. Writing for his Reuters AlertNet blog Andy and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to 'Bandit Bob' Mugabe attending the EU-Africa Summit 2007 in Lisbon. Andy says,

EU-Africa Summit: Get Beyond Bob
04 Dec 2007 23:49:00 GMT
Blogged by: Andrew Stroehlein


"Here's a challenge to all European journalists intending to write about this weekend's EU-Africa Summit: deal with real issues that may have an effect on people's lives, not invented ones that politicians use to aggrandise themselves. In short, skip the flap about Robert Mugabe's attendance, and go directly to substance.

Some may say this is hard to do. No doubt editors back home are baying for Bob, so they can cover what they assume people are interested in -- mostly because the competition is working under the same assumptions. Of course, in doing so the media gatekeepers have to consciously ignore their duty to inform the public as well as the opportunity they possess to set the agenda.

There are at least a dozen much more critical issues this EU-Africa Summit raises. I chaired a press conference today, with a number of expert speakers discussing the upcoming international meeting for about an hour, and throughout their speeches the subject of Mugabe's attendance never came up once. There was just too much else to talk about.

My own organisation, the International Crisis Group, highlighted the deteriorating situation in Darfur, now exacerbated by Khartoum blocking deployment of the hybrid AU/UN force, and examined the situation in Chad, where one of the larger rebel groups just declared war on the EU force about to be sent there.”

Andy goes on to say more (read all about it here) but he wraps the post rather nicely with these words of advice to his professional news journalism colleagues:

“…And again, throughout the hour-long press briefing, not one speaker, not even the harsh critic of Mugabe from Zimbabwe, discussed the matter of the leader's attendance at the Summit. In fact, not until a journalist asked about it in the question period did anyone even mention it. All the expert speakers agreed with Arnold Tsunga when he replied that this was a diversion from the real issues the EU and Africa needed to address, particularly about Zimbabwe, but also right across Africa.If you're a journalist, consider following his lead when you write your story. This is the first EU-Africa Summit in seven years. Don't waste your rare column inches and air time on a non-story about pointless political posturing.”

End of excerpt from Reuters Alertnet blog -

The second part of this update has to do with a newly launched website from the European Commission for the EU-Africa Summit 2007 in Lisbon. Check out the new site from the EC DG DEV as it is loaded with information about the upcoming summit and African-EU partnerships and cooperation. Of course the information on the website is available in all languages spoken within the European Union and a few foreign tongues as well.


End of update for December 5th
Original post of December 4th follows:

A few days ago when I began in earnest to research information online about the upcoming EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, most online international news sites and the blogosphere alike had very little to offer. Little to offer that is if you discount the weeks of media babble about the dreaded attendance of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and the not so subtle revulsion of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown for “Bob the Bandit”, a pre-summit political and media circus that threatens to overshadow any chance for success of this important event. People seem to forget that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair also did not attend the first ever Africa-EU summit held in Cairo, Egypt in 2000 and that the planned follow-on summit for 2003 was cancelled for the same reason: the controversy over Robert Mugabe’s presence at these summits.

Question: So what’s on the menu at Jewels for the coming days and weeks?

Answer: The strategic partnership talks in Lisbon between the leaders of 80+ sovereign states representing 100’s of millions of citizens living in Europe and Africa. We are only days away from the start of the 2nd EU-Africa Summit to be held in Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal from December 7-9, 2007.

That’s right folks, after an absence of more than seven years the Africa-Europe Summit is back in business again. The EU-Africa Summit 2007 is the follow-on summit to the 1st OAU-EU Summit held in Cairo, Egypt in April 2000. The OAU (Organization of African Unity) was disbanded in 2002 with the newly formed African Union rising from its ashes before the flames died down. The EU (European Union) has expanded its membership to 27 countries as of 2007 and much has changed in the world since the first Africa-Europe summit (boy that’s an understatement). The process of building a better economic, political, and cultural relationship between the people of these two continents just might get a “new lease on life” after Lisbon.

This ain’t gonna be anything like the November 2006 China-Africa Summit in Beijing. Loose money from European state coffers feeding fast & shady deals for promises to build new road and rail infrastructure, government palaces, and football stadiums in exchange for lucrative exclusive contracts for oil, gas, and other natural resources that rightly belong to the citizens of resource-rich African countries will not be on the agenda in Lisbon. Or maybe it will be, because news on the street today is that China has been invited by the EU to the Lisbon Summit as an “observer country”.

I thought it would be a good idea to first concentrate on solid background information about the European and African strategic foreign policies that constitute the core of this important summit and to provide useful online resources for my astute readers. After all, the average person on the street whether in a European city or an African city does not have a clue to what this summit is all about and how it will affect their future.

A good starting point for me in researching information about the two Africa-EU summits has been the europafrica.org website and blog. This organization is funded and managed by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) based in Brussels, Belgium. The site is dedicated exclusively to news updates, reports, press releases, and official documentation about the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon and joint African-European political and economic policies. I suggest that you start with europafrica’s Lisbon Summit category and spread out from there. I’ve also listed at the end of this post a small number of online resources about the EU-Africa summits and joint European-African strategic policies and cooperation. This is the first in a short series of posts at Jewels about the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon and more links and cross-posting of relevant blog articles will follow.

The europafrica.org website has a link to the original Cairo Plan of Action from the 2000 Africa-EU Summit in Cairo. It would be interesting to compare the main points of that joint declaration by European and African heads of state to the EU-Africa Joint Strategy for 2007 to be agreed upon (or not) at the Lisbon Summit. I have created an outline of the main sections from the Cairo Plan of Action with selected excerpts:


CAIRO PLAN of ACTION: AFRICA-EUROPE SUMMIT UNDER the AEGIS of the OAU and the EU
Cairo, 3-4 April 2000

I. INTRODUCTION


We, the Heads of State and Government of African States and of the European Union as well as the President of the European Commission, have met in the First Africa - Europe Summit under the Aegis of the OAU and EU, in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, at the kind invitation of His Excellency Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, under the Co-Presidency of the President of Algeria, His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in his capacity as

Chairman of the OAU, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, in his capacity as President of the European Council.

The Secretary General of the OAU, and the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy also participated in the Summit. A representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations attended the Summit.

We solemnly declare that:

Over the centuries, ties have existed between Africa and Europe, which have led to many areas of co-operation, covering political, economic, social, as well as cultural and linguistic domains. These have developed on the basis of shared values of strengthening representative and participatory democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, pluralism, international peace and security, political stability and confidence among nations. In the light of the current rapid globalisation trend, We are determined to strengthen this co-operation in our mutual interest and make it more beneficial to the two regions.

In order to give a new strategic dimension to the global partnership between Africa and Europe for the Twenty First Century, in a spirit of equality, respect, alliance and co-operation between our regions, We are committed to the basic objective of strengthening the already existing links of political, economic and cultural understanding through the creation of an environment and an effective framework for promoting a constructive dialogue on economic, political, social and development issues.

I. REGIONAL ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND INTEGRATION

We stress the importance of regional economic co-operation and integration as an efficient strategy for the orderly and co-ordinated development of the African continent. We recognise the important interrelation between political stability, peace and security on one hand and regional integration on the other. We commend the leaders of the African continent for adopting a number of declarations, plans and programmes, as well as treaties which constitute an appropriate framework for the collective promotion of the development of their countries, which include the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos of 1980, and the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community of 1991 (the Abuja Treaty), which came into force in May 1994, and the Sirte Declaration adopted at the OAU Extraordinary Summit, Libya in September 1999, on the African Union.

We note the progress made in regional integration in Europe and in Africa and recognise that regional integration can be an important step towards beneficial participation in the world economy. We welcome the decision taken at the OAU Extraordinary Summit on the African Union in Sirte, Libya in September 1999 to realise the African commitment to regional integration and to consolidate and strengthen the regional economic communities as the building blocks for achieving the objectives of the African Economic Community.

We note the efforts to establish an Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and, in the framework of the just concluded ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, to create integrated economic areas between the EU and Africa, consistent with the objective of enhancing the economic integration of Africa. In addition, the priorities for action adopted by the Summit will be promoted through the current ministerial discussions between the European Union and the African countries in the framework of the new ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and the Barcelona Process. These discussions will maintain their present format and regularity.

We stress the need to promote close co-operation between the EU and African regional integration institutions, notably the African Economic Community (AEC), in the context of facilitating the sharing of experiences and institutional strengthening of the AEC and the regional economic communities (RECs). In that regard, it is worth recalling the OAU document: Relaunching Africa's Economic and Social Development: The Cairo Agenda for Action of 1995.

I. INTEGRATING AFRICA INTO THE WORLD ECONOMY

Trade

We welcome the progress made in recent years towards more outward-oriented economies by a large number of African countries and we pledge our support to these policies, in such a way as to encourage competitive advantages, economic growth, sustainable development and social stability in Africa.

We recall that Africa and the EU have traditionally been important trade partners and We affirm our commitment to strengthen this partnership by removing progressively barriers to trade between both sides, including non-tariff barriers, and enhancing co-operation in all trade related areas, building on regional integration initiatives existing within Africa and in line with the goals and objectives of the Abuja Treaty with a view to ensuring the further development of Africa's economic and industrial potential. With respect to African Least Developed Countries, We recognise the need for enhanced market access for essentially all their products on a duty-free and quota-free basis.

End excerpt - Read more from the Cairo Plan of Action at the Republic of South Africa's Department of Foreign Affairs website.

I. Introduction

II. Regional Economic Co-operation and Integration

III. Integrating Africa into the World Economy
a. Trade
b. Private Sector Development
c. Investment
d. Resources for Development
e. Infrastructural Problems and Industrial Base
f. Research and Technology
g. External Debt
h. International Co-operation

IV. Human Rights, Democratic Principles and Institutions, Good Governance, and the Rule of Law
a. Human Rights
b. Democratic Principles and Institutions
c. Civil Society
d. Migration
e. Xenophobia
f. Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s)

V. Peace-Building, Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution
a. Post-conflict Assistance and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Integration
b. Terrorism
c. Small Arms and Light Weapons
d. Landmines
e. 2000 Review of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty)
f. Conflicts in Africa

VI. Development Issues
a. Challenges to Sustainable Development in Africa and Poverty Eradication
b. Investment in Human Resources – Education
c. Investment in Human Resources – Health
d. Food Security
e. Environment
f. Drug Abuse and Trafficking
g. Cultural Issues

End of Cairo Action Plan outline


Related articles and additional resources

Presidency of the European Union – Portugal 2007
EU-Africa Summit 2007 in Lisbon official website (see related news)
EU-Africa Business Summit in Lisbon 2007 official website
EU-Africa Business Forum 2007 in Accra, Ghana


European Commission – Directorate Generale for Development
EU-Africa Summit 2007 website

(Note: this site launched on November 17th and is loaded with info)

ECDPM – European Centre for Development Policy Management
Europe Cares

EU SCADPlus – Taking the EU-Africa dialogue forward

African Union official website

African Union Commission (CIDO – African Citizens Directorate)
NEPAD – the New Partnership for African Development


African Union Commission - Conferences
Official AU website for the Africa-EU Summit 2007 in Lisbon
(Note: is it the Africa-EU Summit or the EU-Africa Summit, or both?)

Republic of South Africa – Department of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Briefing on the European Union – Africa Summit, 12/05/07

Europafrica.org - public consultation toward a joint EU-Africa strategy
Africa-Europe Youth Summit (description and resources)
Voices from the Euro-Africa Civil Society Forum, 11/23/07
(Note: see about the EU-Africa consultation and the Europafrica Bulletin)

Euforic (official blog of Europe’s Forum on International Cooperation)
Creating a true and equal partnership between Europe and Africa?, 11/30/07

(Must-see video and text from a conference sponsored by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation and WEED – World Economy, Ecology, and Development)
More info about the conference at the WEED website

APO-Source (blog and news database of the African Press Organization)
Africa and Europe: a new departure by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, 12/05/07
Africa’s Security Is Our Security - Its Opportunities are Our Opportunities by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, 12/04/07
Lisbon Summit to discuss youth policy in Europe-Africa cooperation, 12/04/07
Joint EP-PAP Statement on the joint EU-Africa Strategy to be adopted by EU and African heads of state and government, 10/26/07


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3 comments:

Koluki said...

Great job BRE!
I'll be joining your efforts right after the Summit.
Cheers!

Blackgirl On Mars said...

This is such a great place to start if you want to know more about all this--thank you so much for all the hard work reflected here. I continue to recommend this blog to others--it is amazing. Keep up the work.

BRE said...

Thank you Lesley-Ann. Koluki (see 1st commenter here) just published an excellent op-ed on the EU-Africa Summit 2007 at the Atlantic Community website and Germany's Die Welt newspaper online. I will have a cross-post of her full editorial with proper references and links up at Jewels this week. You can visit Koluki's blog for all the details at:

http://koluki.blogspot.com/2007/12/outblogging-atlantic-community.html