ACP YPN at PACO conference on Parliaments in EU Diplomacy

On 31st August, Yentyl Williams, Researcher at the Centre of EU Studies (CEUS), Ghent University and ACP YPN President & Founder, presented her work on the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) at the Jean Monnet Network PACO’s final conference on ‘Parliaments in EU Diplomacy and External Action – Control Cooperation and Contestation’ at the University Foundation, Brussels.

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Yentyl presented her paper, co-written with Dr. Sarah Delputte, entitled, ‘Equal partnership between unequal regions? Assessing deliberative parliamentary diplomacy in ACP-EU relations’ on the fourth panel of the conference, on ‘Parliamentary Scrutiny and diplomacy in the area of trade policy and regional cooperation’ alongside esteemed experts: Prof. Dr. Seiglinde Gstohl (College of Europe, Bruges), Prof. Dr. Dirk de Bièvre (University of Antwerp), Tomas Baert (Head of Trade Strategy, DG Trade, European Commission) and Dr. Xavier Nuttin (European Parliament).

Yentyl explained that while there might be a considerable amount of literature on EU-ACP relations, the JPA has been somewhat of a forgotten institution in the partnership. This is surprising for two reasons: (i) the JPA is the oldest and most institutionalised parliamentary assembly between the countries of the global North and South. Indeed, it was a model for similar North-South parliamentary assemblies, such as the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) and the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT); and (ii) the parliamentary dimension has grown in importance both within and beyond the EU-ACP framework with each revision of Cotonou.

Yentyl explained that the paper develops an analytical framework to assess the quality of deliberation on the subject of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) at the ACP-EU JPA based on five areas (see below). However, the results showed that JPA dialogue on EPAs struggles to approach the ideal type of deliberation, even if there is overwhelming consensus on EPAs at the JPA. For example, there were a number of recurrent critical issues: (i) participation of EU MEPs in political parties versus ACP country representatives; (ii) ACP bloc voting blurring the substantial openness; (iii) narrow interests pervert the common good; (iv) the JPA split vote threats constructive politics, or (v) rules of procedure reinforces difference as opposed to neutralising it – which lowers the quality deliberation at the JPA.

In summary, Yentyl underlined that the findings of the paper would serve as useful points and recommendations for EU and ACP negotiators as they approach the revision of the EU-ACP partnership in a post-Cotonou era.

What is the Jena Monnet Network PACO? The Jean Monnet Network ‘Interparliamentary Cooperation in the EU’s external action – Parliamentary Scrutiny and Diplomacy in the EU and beyond’ (PACO) brings together three inter-related teaching and research areas: EU external relations, inter-parliamentary cooperation and parliamentary diplomacy. PACO aims to discover and explain if and why inter-parliamentary cooperation in the field of external relations has contributed towards increased scrutiny by the EP and national parliaments; (ii) PACO aims to discover and explain if and why parliamentary diplomacy can add to the diplomatic tool set in the EU’s cooperation with third partners via its own delegations at the bilateral and multilateral levels (i.e. countries, regional blocs like the ACP or regional organizations like the African Union); (iii) PACO aims to contribute to a new understanding of the role of European parliaments (EP, national parliaments) in EU external action.

See the Virtual Maps of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (VIPCO) here.

See the VIPCO factsheet for the ACP-EU JPA here.

See the official pictures here.

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ACP YPN becomes member of AU Youth Advisory Board

In July, ACP YPN was nominated to be part of the African Union’s (AU) Youth Advisory Board (YAB) to AU Youth Division. On 6th-9th August, Celine Fabrequette ACP YPN Secretary General joined the first Capacity Building workshop of the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis-Abeba. The Capacity building workshop was developed and provided by the AU Youth Division in collaboration and financial support from IPPF. The objective of the training was to provide the Youth representatives with enough information on the YAB and its role and its responsibilities, review of last year activities, the African Union Commission Youth programmes, the African Youth Charter, the AU 2063 Agenda , 2017 focus year Harnessing the demographic dividend through Investments in Youth and lastly to develop an action plan of activities for the upcoming year in the four areas (Education & skills development; Rights, Governance & Youth empowerment; Health & Well-being; Employment & Empowerment) covered by the Demographic dividend.


To develop the 2017-2018 YABs’ action plan the youth representatives had the opportunity to interact and exchange with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The United Nation Economic and Social Council (the ECOSOC), the African Union Commission Department of Political Affairs (DPA), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Lucky enough, the training took also place at the same time as the AU Finance Ministers Meeting and members of the YAB where invited to an informal diner exchange at his Excellency Honorable Ken Ofori-Atta AU Deputy Chairperson Residence, this exchange confirmed the support and the direction taken by the AU Financial Ministers toward a more inclusive and supportive youth dialogue, opening the access for more constant exchange between the YAB and the AU Financial Ministers.

With such variety of Youth organisation members expertise and for the first time representative of the Diaspora, it was only natural that the focus of the YAB this year, be based on the Demographic Dividend Four areas (Education & skills development; Rights, Governance & Youth empowerment; Health & Well-being; Employment & Empowerment); which changed from the previous year, where the focus of the YAB was on Youth Health and Well-being. And so as YAB member, ACP YPN will provide inputs and support the development of activities to foster Youth Employment & Empowerment.

So do stay tune, and keep following us on our various social media, more information to come soon!

By  Céline Fabrequette

Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

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ACP YPN at 6th African Diaspora Youth Forum

On 1st-4th August Celine Fabrequette ACP YPN Secretary General took part in the Accelerated Africa organised by the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (ADYFE) in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna. The Four days conference was an opportunity for African Diaspora entrepreneurs to interact and exchange with Africans based entrepreneurs (Diaspora Business Talks), internationals and regionals policy makers (Panels Discussions). The conference had also a capacity building element to it, which had for purpose to provide participants with tools to understand; create & develop their own Pitch & Business Model Canvas (Diaspora Startup Award program). The capacity building training and workshop was provided & facilitated by Theodore Khoury with concur of five Africans based entrepreneurs (Rotimi Williams (CEO Kereksuk Rice Farm), Vongai Chekanai (Agronomist), Affiong Williams (CEO Reelfruit), Geraldine (Consultant), Ivan Mworozi (Akiba) .

The first groups exchanged with the entrepreneurs concluded on advice on what elements are needed to be taken into account when going into entrepreneurship. Need to be passionate about what they are doing and not be afraid of the unknown. When developing their idea must first determine a need, the idea/product must respond to need; it must bring a value or create a value. They also need to calculate the risk which means knowing their markets and competition. When searching for funds first, they must start by looking in their surrounding (family, friends)/ network, this will create a frame where there will have to start small before scaling up. To conclude entrepreneurs need to constantly keep learning, and to always heal the advised of other while being aware of what is out there.

6th African Diaspora Youth Forum

A total of 20 pitches were made in which Celine got the opportunity to pitch (Diaspora Start-up Award program) ACP YPN SDGs Mainstreaming bottom-up approach before her peers and experts. This was a very good learning experience, but also a good test run and ways to already take the temperature among our targeted audience. The interests by the audience lead to a useful interaction, which she took, into account when learning how to develop a Business Model Canvas. ACP YPN idea respond to the question how while making profit entrepreneurs can have a social impact. In the seconds workshop participant had to first identify three social issues then identify mechanisms to counter those social issues and thus create a sense of responsibility in regards to keep safe social rights by entrepreneurs. Celine’s’ group identified Youth Unemployment; Gender Inequality & Xenophobia has the pressing social issues to be resolved. The group identified that to take a step toward reducing Youth unemployment four elements needs to be put in place: Awareness, Empowerment, Youth social actors of change & Free Education. For gender equality, they propose anonymous CV & gender pay parity in every occupation and to fight against Xenophobia, awareness need to be made from childhood.

The conclusion that can be made from these four days is that “entrepreneurship, migration and unemployment are all link to each other. In other words: finding solution for one requires to find & developed solutions for the others. In that the diaspora has a crucial role to play in the development of the solutions but also their implementation.” By its Excellency Honorable Alpha Souleymane Bah ECOWAS.

By Celine Fabrequette

Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

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