1507/08 AEFJN Advocacy is Fact Based

Andrzej Krauze

Guided by Christian values and ethos, the AEFJN strives to promote equity and economic justice in the relationships between Europe and Africa. AEFJN enjoys the practical experience of the Africa situation at the grassroots through her network of missionaries who regularly investigate the impact of the EU policies on the local population. Our advocacy is thus fact-based. However, experience has taught us that dealing with the European Commission officials and parliamentarians as well as the national governments in the world of empirical sciences and evidence requires documented and relevant data beyond those presented by the business world that are only out to justify and defend their profits. This does not suggest that such data always automatically elicit the desired political response. We recognize that it is a moral imperative for economic policies to be life-giving otherwise they become veritable instruments of death. It is to this level of consciousness that we invite the EU policy makers through our fact-based advocacy. In this vein the AEFJN embarked on three sets of case studies on Land grabbing, Trade, and the Extractives recently. We are pleased to present two of the first set of these case studies, namely ‘The Impacts of EPA on Kenya’ and ‘Koudiadiène; a mining operation under scrutiny…Evidence’ in the August edition of the Echoes. The others will be presented in the subsequent editions.

Before the study on Economic Partnership Agreements was conducted, the AEFJN held that the EPAs have more serious repercussions than the good they promise to bring to Africa in their present form. This study confirms our position. What is difficult to understand is the relentless propaganda of the EU that the EPAs are the best things that have ever happened to Africa even when there are many unresolved issues yet to be addressed. Furthermore, the EU maintains that EPAs “are tailor-made” to suit specific regional circumstances of Africa, and that they go beyond conventional free-trade agreements focusing on the development of ACP. Sounds plausible but this is not the whole story! Africa must be allowed to foster her development objectives and the strategies for realizing them in the light of global trends. Only then can she enter into profitable EPAs with the EU.  If Africa has no policy space to define her development objectives, EPAs will impede her growth!

Contrary to the EU’s position that the EPAs hold the magic key to the development of Africa, the study suggests that Africa may develop better under some form of restricted trade controls that protect her nascent industrial base as did the nations of West. As if to support the study, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria[1] greeted their new President with an outright rejection of the EPAs in its present form. Other voices point in the same direction.

Above all, the study unmasks the real intention of the EU in the Cotonou trade agreement. Obviously, the development objectives of Africa were of no significance to the EU. The EU’s so-called “Trade is development” in respect of EPAs is an economic smokescreen to make Africa  the perpetual supplier of her raw materials. It is a lopsided agreement!

The other case study on Land grabbing was conducted in Koudiadiène village (a district of the town of Cherif Lo), Senegal known for its mineral-rich subsoil.  The study highlights the unethical processes of land acquisition for mining by European corporations and the attendant consequences for the population, the local economy and the environment of Koudiadiène against the background of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, food Security and the Senegalese mining and environmental codes.

So, the AEFJN continues to call for an increase in the EU's efforts to develop a comprehensive framework with mandatory clauses for the responsible sourcing of raw materials from developing countries. What is currently operational is a recipe that impedes development and breeds conflicts in the mineral-rich, developing countries.




[1] Punch Newspapers. June 5, 2015 P.22

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