ACP YPN 2nd Youth Forum at EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly

On 18th December 2016, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Advocacy and Policy Officer. Led the 2nd ACP YPN Youth Forum in collaboration with the JPA Secretariat, the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) and the European Youth Forum at the 32nd EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

More than 90 youth between the age of 17 and 35 years old from Kenya joined the Forum and benefitted from this unique opportunity to exchange with ACP and EU parliamentarians and officials. The two co-chairs, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Marie Arena for the European Parliament and Cecilia Ogwal for the ACP opened the Youth Forum. This was followed by a speech by Bora Kamwanya, who reminded participants of the vital role that they will play, not only in assessing the legacy of the Cotonou Agreement due to expire in 2020, but also in the implementation and assessment of the Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Bora urged country representatives present to let the youth spread their wings, and offered the help of ACP YPN to solve some problems ACP youth and ACP youth Diaspora are facing. He reminded the audience that the youth need actions and not only pledges, highlighting the promise of Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement on “cooperation on youth issues” and its lack of implementation. He concluded that “Nothing for the youth should be done without the youth.”

ACP YPN also haled a bilateral meeting with Sakaja Johnson, a Kenyan young parliamentarian and chairman of The National Alliance Party, with the ACP Secretariat, the CYC and Kenya youth representatives. Johnson supported and encouraged ACP YPN and partners to continue the advocacy for youth rights.

In Bora’s words “We are striving to make the voice of the ACP youth and ACP diaspora youth heard by our leaders. We are aiming to attend and organize a Youth Forum at every JPA. Together we can represent the voice of the Youth in Malta at the next JPA.”  Based on the interventions made by the youth present, the ACP YPN – Nairobi declaration was drafted and distributed to EU and ACP representatives present.

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ACP YPN at Ghent-Africa Platform Symposium

On 9th December, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President and EU-ACP Trade expert, presented on ‘The Caribbean-EU EPA – Lessons for the African-EU EPAs’ at the 10th Ghent-Africa Platform Symposium, in Ghent on 9th December 2016. Her presentation is available here.

Yentyl presented 7 lessons based on her research on the EU-Cariforum EPA since 2011 to today. Yentyl explained the historic relations between the EU and the Caribbean as a ‘historic inevitability’, and the legally binding relations under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Yentyl explained that the EPAs were meant to integrate the ACP countries into a WTO-compatible agreement. Indeed, former Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht summarised the challenges faced by the ACP countries in the following words: “as regards the economic fundamentals, the truth is that the current system has failed; that ACP countries have become increasingly marginalised in world trade, even with the generous tariff preferences since the Cotonou and Lomé agreements.”

Ghent-yentyl

Yentyl’s lessons include: 1) We should further investigate why critics state that WTO argument does not sell due to the incoherencies of Art. XXIV as an article designed for developed-developed countries; 2) We should learn from the cognitive failure between the two camps of EU and ACP officials; 3) Caricom regional integration is slow, even on pause, and this will impact implementation of the EPA, especially given political tensions between Caricom and Cariforum; 4) Any new agreement must overcome Walter Rodney’s ‘development-underdevelopment dialectic as oppose to deepening it; 5) Policy Coherent for Development is paramount; 6) There needs to be consultations with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); 7) There are several models of development, and all future relations should be based on economic development.

See the other presentations on this panel by:

Prof. Dr. Jan Orbie, Economic Partnership Agreements and Regionalism

Dr. Sarah Deputte, The Parliamentary Dimension of Inter-Regionalism: the EU-ACP JPA 

Dr. Frank Matteis, Comparing regionalism: Is Africa following Europe? 

Darian Pearce, EU-Southern African Development Community trade & Geographical Indications

Marjolein Derous and Deborah Martens, EU regionalism the case of ASEAN and Central America

Contact & follow Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter

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ACP YPN on EPAs with SOLIDAR

On 7th December, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President and EU-ACP Trade expert, presented on “Labour and Social provisions in the Economic Partnership Agreements’ at the SOLIDAR Progressive lab for Sustainable Development.

Yentyl gave an overview of the social and labour standards in the EU-ACP EPAs. She noted that labour provisions vary widely across the agreements from the EU-ECOWAS EPA, which has a standard clause in relation to prison labour to the Cariforum-EU EPA, which directly transposes Article 50 Cotonou on ‘Trade and Labour standards’. Yentyl made the preliminary conclusion that the lack of linkages between labour issues with sustainable development and social in the newer African EPAs can be regarded as a missed opportunity. In contrast, there is much more coverage of social provisions throughout the EPA texts, however the Cariforum-EU EPA remains the most ambitious vis-à-vis labour and social provisions of all the EPA texts.

Yentyl also presented an alaysis of the EPA provisions’ compatibility with the Cotonou Agreement. She stated that “The legacy of Cotonou leaves much room for improvement, especially with regards to civil society participation”. She gave the example of the ACP Civil Society Forum that was established in 2001 and the forthcoming ACP Civil Society Road map. She also gave insight to the functioning of the Joint Consultative Committees (JCC) based on her experience as observer to the EU-Cariforum JCC. Yentyl summarised that CSO provisions differ IN EPAs and (ACROSS EU trade agreements due to ‘ACP exceptionalism.’

This presentation was the first part of a two-step review process whereby the final publication of Yentyl’s article as part of SOLIDARS’ Progressive Lab for Sustainable Development is expected in March 2017.

Contact Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter

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ACP YPN at 6th Diaspora Development Dialogues

On 1-3rd December, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Policy and Advocacy Officer represented ACP YPN at the 6th Diaspora Development Dialogues (DDD16). It was organised by ADEPT in partnership with the Institute for African Studies (Slovenia) & Humanitas Afrika (Czech Republic), in Piran, Slovenia. The theme of DDD16 was  ‘Migration and Integration: Actions for Inclusive Development’. Here is the full programme.

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This was a very important dialogue bearing in mind the recent UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016, where the New York Declaration was adopted. The Declaration agreed that campaigns will be developed to counter xenophobia and that links would be made with the UN Secretary General’s ‘Togetherness’ campaign. DDD6 explored the practical and effective ways of facilitating migrant and diaspora integration in host countries, for the socio-economic and development benefit of all.

Contact & follow Bora Kamwanya via twitter

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ACP YPN wins British Youth Council Most Inspiring Project 2016 Award

On the 3rd December, ACP YPN was announced as the winner of the British Youth Council’s (BYC) most inspiring project 2016 award. The BYC’s Youth on Board (YOB) Awards are an exclusively youth-led award scheme that recognises innovative and exciting youth participation, both from young people and the projects and organisations that support them.

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ACP YPN won the category most ‘Inspiring Project Award’, which recognizes the efforts made by ACP YPN projects to engage young people and give them a voice through the numerous outreach activities. In order to promote the integration of diverse perspectives and to facilitate the integration of EU-ACP youth in several key dialogues, ACP YPN pioneered the debate & promotion of the role of youth in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably via roundtables with the European Economic and Social Committee, the ACP Secretariat, at the European Development Days with the UN Arts Initiative and the EU Committee of the Regions and Belgian universities. Additionally, ACP YPN initiated the Youth Forum at the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which has since been institutionalised as an official Forum of the Assembly. The first two Youth Forums were effective youth-led debates by ACP YPN, in partnership with the Commonwealth Youth Council, the European Youth Forum and the National Youth Councils of the host countries, Nambia and Kenya respectively (June and December 2016). In 2016, ACP YPN attended the African Union Inter-Generational Dialogue an important initiative that bring together African youth and diaspora. This year (2017), ACP YPN was invited to the 9th African Union Gender Pre-Summit and asked to give our perspective and present recommendations on “Tapping into the diaspora to invest in Africa’s Young Innovation”. This has enabled ACP YPN to build bridges between youth in Europe and Africa.

And finally, ACP YPN empowers young professionals based in Brussels in two ways. On the one hand, ACP YPN promotes inter-generational dialogues in Brussels by organising exchanges with ACP Ambassadors as part of the ACP YPN Ambassador’s Roundtable sessions. On the other, ACP YPN organises free trainings (CV writing, getting a Bluebook traineeship) for its members to build their capacity to enter the job market. This is communicated via the ACP YPN platform, where we also share jobs.

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

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ACP YPN Expert speaks on African Industrialisation with UNIDO

On the 1st of December 2016, Zama Nkosi ACP YPN Private Sector Expert, was invited by UNIDO Brussels to speak during an event celebrating Africa Industrialisation Day in the European Parliament. The theme of the celebration was Financing Industrialisation in Africa: Challenges and Winning Strategies. She spoke during a panel on Africa’s Industrialisation in the frame of the Africa-EU Partnership, alongside Ambassador Baso Sangqu (South Africa), Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director in DG International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and Mr. Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Head of Unit in the European External Action Service (EEAS). The panel was moderated by Dr. San Bilal from the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

Z Nkosi UNIDO AIDMs. Nkosi’s remarks focused on youth entrepreneurship in the context of the EU-Africa partnership. She noted that the bilateral partnership included commitments for advancing youth employment. However, she urged for a “youth lens to frame the partnership” given the youth majority on the continent. She concluded by listing key areas that have been identified as challenges for youth participation in entrepreneurship, such as financial and social capital, and the inclusion of youth in policy-making. She urged the partners to consider these key areas in their relations.

Zama Nkosi is an EU Trade Policy Consultant based in Brussels. She is a MSc graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science where her dissertation studied the role of the private sector in EU-South Africa trade relations.

Contact Zama Nkosi via Twitter

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ACP YPN on EU-Africa-China Cooperation

On 1st December, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President and EU-ACP Trade expert, presented at the first Konrad-Arednauer Stfitung (KAS) and the EU-Asia Centre’s Roundtable on “The EU and China in Africa – Prospects for Cooperation” in Brussels.

Yentyl’s intervention focused on three issues. First, the shifting paradigms from EU-ACP focused policy, to a more pan-African approach as defined in the EU’s New Consensus for Development. She reminded the audience that Africa is not a country, but an immense continent that is the landmass of China, the USA, India, Mexico, Japan and Western Europe put together. She also recalled this historic interest for the EU in Africa by quoting Robert Schuman, one of the founding fathers of the EU project in his 9th May 1950 Schuman Declaration in Paris: “Europe, with new means at her disposal, will be able to pursue the realisation of one of her essential tasks: the development of the African Continent”. On this point, Yentyl summarised that “China does not have the legacy of colonialism or even the new legacy of negotiating the EPAs.”

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Secondly, Yentyl highlighted that even where African countries could have benefited from duty-free and quota-free market access to spur export diversification, African countries (and ACP alike) did not benefit due to the preferential arrangement in place internally in Europe with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This is emblematic of the development-underdevelopment dialectic that fundamentally taints EU-Africa relations. Thirdly, China offers a new partnership to African countries. As the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo explains in her book, ‘Winner takes all: China’s race for resources and what it means for the world’ there is a difference between the economic and political development offered by China and ‘the West’ respectively.

Yentyl concluded with a quote from Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Commonwealth Secretary-General “The challenge that faces developing countries is not merely the challenge of economic development, but the fact that in failure lies the danger of returning to a new dependency – a new kind of colonialism – deriving from economic weakness.” (2014). Any future cooperation should therefore promote economic development and mitigate any possible economic weakness.

Contact & follow Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter

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