|The Courier N° 142 - Nov - Dec 1993 - Dossier: Regional Integration - Country Reports: The Gambia -Tanzania (EC Courier, 1993, 96 p.)|
The convention at work
European development fund
Following, where required, favourable opinions from the EDF Committees the Commission has decided to provide grants and special loans from the 5th, 6th and 7th EDFs to finance the following operations (grants unless otherwise stated):
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
Niger: ECU 1.6 million for sanitation works in the city of Agadez.
Cape Verde: ECU 7 million to improve the water distribution and sanitation system in Praia.
Benin: ECU 29 million for the rehabilitation of the Beroubouay-Malanville road.
Bahamas: ECU 3.86 million to improve the road infrastructure on Long Island, and in particular. for the renovation of the Queen's Highway.
Sao Tome and Principe: ECU 450 000 for improvements to the Port of Sao Tome (upgrading of the quay drainage and provision of electricity).
TRADE PROMOTION/STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT
Dominican Republic: ECU 9.5 million from the Structural Adjustment Facility for a sectoral import programme in respect of petroleum products (second contribution).
Gambia: ECU 4.2 million from the Structural Adjustment Facility for a general import programme.
Benin: ECU 15.7 million from the Structural Adjustment Facility for a second general import programme.
Cd'lvoire: ECU 18.5million from the Structural Adjustment Facility for a second general import programme.
Zambia: ECU 39 million from the Structural Adjustment Facility for Phase II of the structural adjustment.
ACP countries and OCTs: ECU 7.75 million (ECU 6.81 million for the ACPs, ECU 940 000 for the OCTs), provided under the heading of regional cooperation, to finance the participation, during 1994, of ACPs and OCTs in fairs, exhibitions and other related activities aimed at developing trade and services.
All ACPs: ECU 7 million to assist ACP/EC professional organizations in improving the production, and commercialisation for export purposes, of tropical fruits, out-of-season vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants and spices.
Ethiopia: ECU 1.9 million for Afar rural development in the Amibara area.
Burkina Faso: ECU 10.5 million to support the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Ghana: ECU 4.S million for a programme to develop SMEs.
Comores: ECU 1.3 million to provide a line of credit for small enterprises, particularly those involved in agriculture, small-scale industry, trading and craftwork.
Mali: ECU 10.22 million towards a programme for improving the national health system. The overall programme, cofinanced with six other donors (Germany, France, Belgium, the World Bank, UNICEF and the United States), will cost $61.4 million.
Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa: (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome & Principe): ECU 3.48 million, under the PALOP regional programme, for professional and management training in the health field and for coordination of health policy in the five countries.
Angola: ECU 15 million for the 'health' component of the Social Stabilisation Programmes which is aimed at the socioeconomic integration of displaced persons and refugees. The aid will consist of technical assistance to the Ministry of Health, medical supplies and support for the fight against AIDS.
SADC Member States: ECU 2 million for the SADC road transport management training programme.
Zambia: ECU 6.8 million for phase two of an education project in support of the Zambian Centre for Accountancy Studies. The aid will take the form of technical assistance and professional training.
Pacific ACP States: ECU 1.855 million for a multiannual programme aimed at improving the skills of senior public sector officials.
ACP coastal states in West Africa: (Senegal, Cape Verde and Gambia): ECU 1.5 million for a technical assistance project in the fisheries sector.
Burkina Faso: ECU 1.95 million to make cartographical equipment for environmental management purposes.
Tanzania: ECU 9 million for a conservation and development project in the Serengeti region.
Tanzania: ECU 1.9 million for a regional institutional support project involving ESAMI (the East and Southern Africa Management Institute).
ACP Pacific States: ECU 4.4 million for development of human resources in the energy field.
Tanzania: ECU 7.1 million for a multiannual programme in the field of human resource development.
Pacific ACPs and OCTs: ECU 11.53 million for phase three of the regional tourism development programme.
French Polynesia: ECU 3.16 million for phase two of a project designed to strengthen the fishing fleet.
French Polynesia: ECU I .15 million for a zootechnic research programme into pearl oysters accompanied by a training and information campaign.
Solomon Islands: ECU 1 million for a rehabilitation programme following the passage of Cyclone Nina.
West Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa and the Indian Ocean: ECU 1.273 million for the International Price Comparison Programme (ICP), Phase VI.
Guinea Bissau: ECU 1.65 million for a programme of cultural activities.
Somalia: ECU 1.35 million for an ICRC veterinary programme. This is designed to improve food security and herders' incomes by providing treatment for livestock and camel herds, support for livestock export centres and assistance in the restoration of water supply points.
On 22 June, the Board of Governors of the EIB announced that Corneille Bruck would succeed Ludovicus Meulemans as Vice-President of the Management Committee. Mr Menlemans becomes Honorary Vice-President.
The Management Committee, which is the executive body of the EIB, consists of a President, currently Sir Brian Unwin (UK), and six Vice-Presidents: Mr Buck, who comes from Luxembourg, Lucio Izzo (Italy), Alain Prate (France), Hans Duborg (Denmark), Jose de Oliveira Costa (Portugal) and Wolfgang Roth (Germany). Members of the Committee are appointed by the Board of Governors for a renewable six year-term of office on a proposal from the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors consists of 22 Directors and 12 Alternates, appointed by the Board of Governors for a renewable term of five years. Having come to the end of the term, the Governors, at the annual meeting on 7 June, appointed the Board of Directors for the next five years.
The Board of Governors consists of a Minister (normally the Finance Minister) from each of the Member States. The term of office, in this case, is linked to the Minister's own political mandate. The Chairmanship, which is currently held by Luxembourg, runs from one annual meeting to the next and rotates following the alphabetical order of the Member States.
Botswana: ECU 7 million for the strengthening of the electricity network and, more particularly, the construction of a new 143 km line interconnecting Botswana with the South African power grid.
Mauritius: ECU 12 million to improve the drinking water distribution system.
Jamaica: ECU 8 million channelled through the Trafalgar Development Bank for SMEs in the industrial, agroindustrial and tourism sectors.
President Aristide meets EC and ACP leaders
The exiled President of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was in Brussels in September for working meetings with the President of the EC Commission, Jacques Delors, and its Vice-President, Manuel Marin, who is responsible for EC development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Mr Delors and Mr Marin stressed the importance the Community attached to a return to constitutional order in Haiti and assured the President of its desire to resume cooperation as soon as possible.
President Aristide of Haiti unseaters journalists' questions at a press conference in ACP House, Brussels
Following talks with leaders of the ACP group, President Aristide gave a news conference in ACP House on 9 September, at which he called for the European Community to be flexible in its attitude to cooperation with Haiti and to take account of the country's needs and special situation. A fund of ECU 120 million set up by the EC in 1991 as an indicative programme for Haitian development would go some way to coping with the serious economic problems of the country, where 67% of the population were farmers and the average peasant earned barely $200 a year, while 5% of the population possessed 45% of national income. Maintaining the army absorbed nearly half the national budget and the military were earning $200 million a year from trafficking in drugs. European Community aid, the President said, should focus on the social and economic rehabilitation of the country, including job-creation initiatives and measures to help refugees. On the ecological front, every month since the coup some 7500 trees were being felled for timber, leading to the loss of millions of tonnes of topsoil through erosion, and, although the Lomonvention made no provision for a reforestation campaign, he hoped that some way could be found to use Lomunds for that purpose, and for urgent road repair work. Other priorities were a campaign to reduce the present 80% illiteracy rate and create a macroeconomic framework in which investors would help the government establish integrated rural development and stimulate the industrial sector.
President Aristide invited Maria-Luisa Cassanmagnago Cerretti, Co-President of the ACP-EEC Joint Assembly, and Henri Saby, Chairman of the European Parliament's Development Committee, to accompany him on his return to Haiti, which was planned for 30 October.
(As the Courier went to press, the situation in Haiti was such that President Aristide was not able to return as planned)
President Habyarimana of Rwanda
On I October, Manuel Marin, Vice President of the Commission, met President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, who was accompanied by Mr Ngirabatware, the Minister of Planning.
Mr Habyarimana outlined the political situation in Rwanda following the signing of the peace agreements between the Government and the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) in Arusha, Tanzania on 4 August. He spoke of his commitment to establishing real and lasting peace and hoped that the Commission would give the process its full backing. He expressed concern at the delay in the deployment of UN peacekeepers, which he felt to be the only way of guaranteeing security and restoring confidence in the country.
Mr Marin also welcomed the signing of the peace agreements and gave his full backing for the continuation of peaceful discussions and national reconciliation. Citing Angola, he warned Mr Habyarimana of the risks inherent in any delay in implementing the agreements.
The Rwandese President expressed thanks for Community aid and, in particular, relief for refugees and displaced persons, which accounted for more than half of the total received by Rwanda for that purpose. Pointing out the scale of the problem faced by his country, he went on to list the areas in which Rwanda most urgently needed further help. These included the demobilization of the armed forces, the return of displaced persons and refugees, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of regions affected by the fighting.
Mr Marin reiterated the Community's readiness to support reconstruction and rehabilitation in the country, but stressed that such support would only be forthcoming if the peace process made good progress.
Cooperation resumed with Malawi
The referendum on the political system which was held in Malawi on 14 June resulted in a victory for the supporters of multi-party democracy (63% of the voters chose this option). This paves the way for the first multi-party elections in the country since 1964.
Following two months of negotiations between the Presidential Committee for Dialogue (PCD), representing the Government, and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), which is the umbrella organization of the opposition, an agreement on the transition has been reached. The elections will be scheduled within one year and, in the meantime, the newly established National Consultative Council (NCC) and National Executive Council (NEC), incorporating members of all political groups, will supervise the existing Parliament and Cabinet respectively.
Section 4 of the Constitution, prohibiting all political parties except the Presidential MCP, has been repealed and a general amnesty has been issued which will enable exiles to return to the country.
In view of these promising developments and of the agreement by the Community and its Member States on a gradual resumption of cooperation, the Commission has reactivated its development programme, which had been subject to a partial freeze since the last Consultative Group meeting of donors in May 1992.
EUROPEAN POLITICAL COOPERATION
The European Community has, within the framework of European Political Cooperation (EPC), recently issued the following statements on events of international interest:
5 August 1993
Statement on the Arusha
The Community and its Member States warmly welcome the signing on 4 August 1993 of the Arusha Agreements.
These Agreements, signed by the President of the Rwandese Republic and the President of the Rwandese Patriotic Front, are the end result of long and laborious negotiations and constitute an appropriate basis on which to build a fair and lasting peace, to the benefit of all the countries of the sub-region.
The Community and its Member States appreciate the work done by the parties in the interests of the Rwandese people. They pay tribute to the sustained diplomatic efforts of the Tanzanian mediator and to the actions of the Organisation of African Unity, the United Nations Organisation and the observers from Western and African Governments.
They request all the parties concerned to ensure full compliance with and effective implementation of the Agreements concluded, in a climate of national reconciliation and of mutual confidence and tolerance. They stress that these Agreements must help to strengthen democracy and lead to free elections.
The Community and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to support the efforts of the Rwandese authorities and other partners and friends of Rwanda as part of the process of consolidating peace, restoring stability and security, and achieving economic and social development.
24 August 1993
Statement on Congo
The Community and its Member States welcome the agreement concluded on 4 August 1993 between the Congolese parties under the auspices of El Hadj Omar Bongo, President of the Gabonese Republic, and in the presence inter alia of Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun. Special Envoy of the Organisation of African Unity.
The European Community and its Member States would urge all parties to respect the agreement reached so that the political crisis can be resolved swiftly and it will then be possible to re-establish at the earliest opportunity the conditions needed to solve the serious economic and social problems together with the foundations for effective cooperation with external partners.
The European Community and its Member States have taken note of the requests concerning participation in their Arbitration Board and the Committees responsible for the organization and monitoring of elections, and several Members are prepared to give a favourable response.
31 August 1993
Statement on the Middle East peace process
The Israeli-Palestinian agreement in principle constitutes a historic step towards the establishment of peace in this sorely tried region.
The European Community and its Member States pay tribute to the vision and courage of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders who have managed to overcome numerous and thorny obstacles in order to lay the foundations for a better future for both their peoples. They are prepared to facilitate the implementation and success of this agreement.
The European Community and its Member States take this opportunity of reiterating their total support for the Middle East peace process, initiated in Madrid, with a view to it resulting, through full application of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, in a global, just and lasting solution to the whole Israeli-Arab conflict.
1 September 1993
Statement on elections in the
Central African Republic
The European Community and its Member States welcome the fact that the balloting and vote counting in the first round of legislative and presidential elections were carried out under good conditions. They consider that the responsible attitude shown by all sectors of the population and the opposing political forces during both the campaign and the balloting is a clear indication of the commitment of the Central African Republic to the democratic process.
The Community and its Member States stress the importance they attach to the final results of the elections being published as soon as possible.
13 September 1993
Declaration on the Middle East
The European Community and its Member States pay tribute to the vision and courage of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders who signed this historic agreement which represents a positive breakthrough in the peace process.
The European Community and its Member States offer their continuing political support and readiness to participate in further international arrangements arising in connection with implementation of the agreement.
Stressing the fact that the Community and its Member States are already the largest net contributor to the Occupied Territories, the Community and its Member States announce their intention to continue to be a substantive contributor. The European Community is ready to offer a package of immediate aid of ECU 20 million and to discuss medium term aid with Palestinian institutions as they are formed.
The European Community and its Member States reiterate their commitment to a comprehensive peace and hope that progress will be accomplished in other bilateral negotiations and in the multilateral talks on future cooperation; as a chairman of the Regional Economic Development working group the European Community and its Member States are prepared to contribute to all forms of regional economic cooperation.
25 September 1993
Declaration on recent events in South Africa
The Community and its Member States warmly welcome recent events in South Africa, which have enabled Mr Nelson Mandela, the President of the ANC, to call in New York for the lifting of all economic sanctions still in force visa-vis his country. They consider these events as the culmination of the first phase of a process that will lead to nonracial democracy in South Africa.
The Multi Party Negotiating process at KemptonPark has now led to the decision to create a Transitional Executive Council. The Community and its Member States express the hope that once the TEC is in place it will be able to fulfil the historic task that the parties to the negotiating process have reserved for it, namely to be the first step in representative government and to facilitate the transition to a democratic order in South Africa.
The Community and its Member States appeal to all parties to continue their efforts and call on all South African political forces to participate in the process of transition, to ensure that all agreements reached in the multiparty negotiations are adhered to, to put an end to violence and to participate fully in the emerging democratic life of their country.
The Community and its Member States recall their decision of 8 June last to adjust their policy towards South Africa concurrently with developments in that country towards majority rule and democracy. They note with satisfaction that other important partners have recently announced that they will lift the economic sanctions still in place, as the
Community and its Member States have done before. As to other measures, the Community and its Member States will shortly consider further steps in line with the decision of 8 June.
29 September 1993
Statement on Liberia
The Community and its Member States welcome the Agreement concluded at Cotonou on 25 July 1993 between the Liberian Parties during the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS. The Community and its Member States support the efforts made in this connection by the United Nations Organisation and the Organisation of African Unity.
The Community and its Member States encourage all the Liberian Parties to apply the Cotonou Agreement in good faith and take part, in accordance with the conditions laid down, in the provisional institutions responsible for administering the country before the elections. They take note of the decision to extend the participation in ECOMOG to other African States and express their hope that such decisions will be implemented swiftly.
The Community and its Member States are pleased to note the inclusion of humanitarian aid in the process of a return to peace. They welcome the fact that the principles relating to this in the Cotonou Agreement are being implemented and would urge that adequate arrangements be made to allow aid to reach all Liberians in all regions of the country by the most direct routes.
Finally, the Community and its Member States confirm that they are prepared to consider when the time comes what assistance they will be able to provide in the context of the process of a return to peace in Liberia.
Statements on Haiti
(At the time of going to press, hopes for the restoration of democratic government in Haiti appeared to have receded, following the assassination of the Justice Minister and attacks on other supporters of President Aristide. UN sanctions were reintroduced on 19 October. The European Community's political statements on [fait) up to mid-October, which are published below, reflect the deteriorating situation in that country.)
1 September 1993
The European Community and its Member States welcome the ratification of Mr Malval as Prime Minister by the Haitian Parliament and his investiture by President Aristide. This investiture constitutes a fundamental stage in the implementation of the New York agreement of 3 July 1 993.
Following the suspension of sanctions on 27 August 1993 by the Security Council, the European Community and its Member States are suspending the measures which they had introduced pursuant to Resolution 841 of 16 June 1993. In accordance with their statement of 6 July 1993, they will be resuming their cooperation with Haiti, which was interrupted by the coup d'etat.
The European Community and its Member States sincerely hope that the taking up of his duties by the Prime Minister will be followed by the implementation of the other points in the agreement of 3 July 1993 in order to swiftly conclude the process of restoring constitutional order and make possible the return of President Aristide to Haiti.
20 September 1993
The European Community and its Member States express their indignation at the series of assassinations of supporters of President Aristide and at the threats made against members of the constitutional Government and political activists who are in favour of the return of the President.
The European Community and its Member States condemn such violence, which runs counter to the national reconciliation to be achieved on the basis of the Governor's Island Agreement. They stress the obligation to maintain order which is incumbent on the army and the police and demand that those responsible be prosecuted and punished.
IS October 1993
The European Community and its Member States express their indignation following the murder of the Minister for Justice of the Constitutional Government of Haiti, Mr Malary. They call for those responsible to be pursued and punished.
The European Community and its Member States condemn attempts to sabotage the Governor's Island Agreement of 3 July, which is to lead to the restoration of constitutional order and the return of President Aristide on 30 October. They reiterate their full support for the Government of Prime Minister Malval.
Plenary, 29-30 September
Development policy high on agenda as Parliament convenes for first time in Brussels
The first 'part-session' of the European Parliament ever to be held in Brussels took place in the new 'Espace Leopold' building at the end of September. Although, under the agreement reached at the Edinburgh summit last December, Strasbourg is the designated seat for this institution, and the regular (monthly) plenary meetings must be held there, additional part-sessions may be staged in the new Brussels hemicycle. It is not without significance that the members of the Community's only elected institution, who had no part in the Edinburgh deliberations, should have chosen to stage no fewer than three extra meetings in the Brussels 'hemicycle' in the latter part of 1993. Some members at least, were unhappy with the Council's decision, which maintains the physical separation of the Parliament from the other Community institutions whose work it seeks to scrutinise.
It was not entirely surprising that there should be teething troubles at the inaugural meeting in the new chamber. In fact these were relatively minor. Initially, it was difficult to hear the speaker without headphones and after what was presumably an adjustment to the amplifying system, the opposite problem arose with the speakers' voices tending to drown out the interpretation. By the second day, the right balance was achieved. MEPs also had some difficulties with the electronic voting system. Additionally, there were some pointed questions about the cost of the new building to the European taxpayer, and members of the Green group, in particular, expressed concern about the use of tropical hardwoods in the furniture and fittings.
Despite lengthy interventions on these and other points, the Parliament found time to debate a number of substantive issues including Community development policy in the run-up to the year 2000 and the common organisation of the banana market.
The development policy discussion began with a presentation by Mrs Barbara Simons (Socialist) of her Report, prepared in response to the Commission's 'Horizon 2000' document, which had already been agreed by the Parliament's Development Committee. Mrs Simons began by drawing attention to global income disparities, pointing out that the top 20% of the world's population were 150 times richer than the bottom 20%. More than one billion people went hungry and child mortality rates were ten times higher in the leastdeveloped countries than in those of the so-called 'developed' world.
Welcoming the work of the Commission in preparing 'Horizon 2000', Mrs Simons nevertheless went on to argue that it was 'incomplete and contradictory'. She suggested that the Commission's analysis was purely economic and that it failed to take account of cultural or environmental factors. She then emphasised a number of key areas, as set out in her report, which should feature in future policy. These included giving priority to the eradication of poverty, drawing up measures to ensure an increase in resource-transfers from North to South (including, in the short term, a commitment by Community Member States to reach the UN's 0.7% GDP target for development assistance), implementing the environmental objectives agreed at the Rio Conference, developing a European strategy for relieving the debt burden and undertaking a study of the effects of the Common Agricultural Policy and European Monetary Union on the developing countries.
On the question of structural adjustment, the Simons Report seeks a reassessment of Community support for traditional SAPs and recommends that in the future this should be conditional upon the World Bank and IMF demonstrating that they are indeed effective. Related to this, the Report is critical of the 'serious democratic deficit' which is said to exist in the working of international bodies such as the Bretton Woods institutions, and its author urges the Community to find ways of tackling this 'deficit'.
Vice-President Marin was obliged, because of time constraints, to limit his comments to a few essential points, when he finally rose to deliver the Commission's response at 7.45 in the evening. (The preceding debate on the GATT issue, and earlier procedural points, had both lasted longer than expected.) Mr Marin pointed out that the essential purpose of Horizon 2000' had been to generate debate and he was pleased to see that this had been achieved. Congratulating the rapporteur on the quality of her report, he focused specifically on the crucial debt issue, stressing that he had taken an initiative in this area but that this had been blocked in the Council of Ministers. He pointedly suggested that on this particular question the Parliament might 'render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to Member States' that which falls within their field of responsibility.
The debate was continued the following day with contributions from a number of members, and the Report was subsequently adopted by the Parliament. If, however, attendance at plenary debates is a reflection of the priority that MEPs give to a particular subject, then the ACPs and other developing countries may have some cause for concern. At one point during the debate, there were only 17 members in the Chamber.
The discussion of the Community's 'Common Organisation' of the banana market revealed something of a division along national lines with German MEPs lining up, irrespective of their political affiliation, to express concern about the new trade regime. This debate is clearly of interest to banana-producing ACPs, notably in the Caribbean, but the argument focused mainly on the alleged effect of the new rules on prices in Germany, and on the traditional ports of entry of 'collar' bananas.
In the event, the MEPs who complained about rising prices and possible job losses in Bremerhaven, Rostock and Hamburg (Antwerp and Rotterdam were also mentioned), received short shrift from many of their colleagues as well as from the Agriculture Commissioner, Rene Steichen. The general consensus, given that the system had only begun operating in July, was that it was far too early to assess whether it was functioning properly. Mr Steichen insisted that there was no evidence so far of a shortfall, either in Germany or on the wider Community market, and pointed out that the rules allowed for the tariff quotas to be amended in due course should such a shortfall be identified.
With the Community's banana regime under scrutiny by a GATT panel and continuing German opposition, this is no doubt a subject to which the European Parliament will return. S.H.
Human Rights sub-committee,
Nobel laureate criticises
Latin America has too many examples of 'authoritarian governments with a veneer of democracy'. This was the view expressed recently in Brussels by the 1980 Nobel Peace Prizewinner, Perez Esquivel. Mr Esquivel, who was speaking to members of the European Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee, acknowledged that matters had improved since the 1970s, when military regimes had predominated, but he argued that the situation was still far from perfect - and indeed was in danger of deteriorating.
He alleged that in a number of Latin American countries human rights infringements continued to take place, involving, in particular, the persecution of journalists and young people. He also spoke of 'restricted democracy' in which government by decree had replaced normal parliamentary procedures. And he was especially critical of the fact that many former oppressors had succeeded in extracting commitments from the new authorities which gave them immunity from prosecution.
In talking of meaningful human rights, Mr Esquivel focused particularly on the social aspects. He said that a process of 'systematic impoverishment' was taking place, highlighting the tragedy of children abandoned in the streets and the growing problem of malnutrition. His stark conclusion was that, at least in parts of the region, there was a move towards the disintegration of democratic structures - a trend which could only be exacerbated by the economic plight of a growing number of people.
In the question and answer session which followed, the Nobel laureate stressed the importance of cooperation between Europe and Latin America in economic, cultural and scientific matters. He also underlined his view that human rights and democracy are indivisible. In this connection, however, he insisted that development and 'quality of life' issues must also be part of the equation, observing wryly that 'capitalist policies are not automatically distributive in their effects'. S.H.
Concern at slowness of
The European Parliament's Committee on Development and Cooperation issued a press statement in October deploring the fact that Stabex transfers due to the ACP countries to compensate them for loss of export earnings in 1992 had still not been paid. An EC Commission spokesman told the committee the hold-up was due to failure by the EC Council of Ministers to reach agreement on a Commission proposal for an additional ECU 52 million in Stabex resources for 1992, but gave an assurance that the ECU 303m already agreed was not at risk and would be paid out, probably by the end of November. The chairman of the committee, Henri Saby (Socialist), pointed out that agreement on the amounts to be earmarked for Stabex was the responsibility of Member States' governments, not the Commission, and described the attitude of Ministers as 'intergovernmental neocolonialism'.
The committee heard a report from MEPs who had represented the European Parliament as observers during the second round of elections in the Central African Republic in September. The delegation had found a desperate economic situation: schools closed for the last three years, hospitals unable to function and civil servants unpaid for several months. The new, democratically elected President, Ange-Felix Patasse, had received the MEPs and, as a trained agricultural engineer, was realistic about what could be done with EC help. Government Ministers told them very little development was going on, but the Commission had now resumed aid, which was frozen when the first round of elections in October 1992 was declared null and void.
Rehabilitation of ACP countries emerging from natural or man-made emergencies, as a midway stage towards development proper, was the subject of a draft report presented by Sotiris Kostopoulos (Soc.). The EC Development Council last May voted ECU 100 million for rehabilitation work in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mozambique and Angola.
The committee adopted a report by Maartje van Putten (Soc.) on a proposal for a Council Regulation on operations to promote tropical forests. If adopted by the Council, this will commit the Community to supporting measures to promote the conservation and sustainable management of such forests, maintain their biological diversity and improve the quality of life of those living in them.
A report from the Council of Ministers was given by the Belgian State Secretary for Development Cooperation, Eric Derycke, who said that the EC was going through difficult times and budget stringency called for hard thinking about how to make development policy truly effective. He would ask the Member States to look at Article 130u of the Maastricht Treaty, which stipulates that EC development cooperation 'shall be complementary to the policies pursued by the Member States', with a view to deciding how to allocate and coordinate development tasks between themselves and the Community. Partnership was another aspect of development cooperation which needed to be stressed: the EC (56% Of whose development aid goes to Africa) must make sure the international community did not start thinking that Africa would have to look after itself from now on.
Negotiations over the second financial protocol of LomV could only be limited in scope, Mr Derycke said, as the gains achieved under succeeding Conventions must be safeguarded - partnership, political dialogue, predictability of aid and transparency. Lomrocedures, however, needed to be simplified, and fresh effort should go into making sure the human rights conditions laid down in Article 5 were better applied. Mr Derycke also promised continuing Council action on poverty alleviation, food security, population growth, the role of women in development, the work of NGOs and links between the EC and South Africa.
To encourage greater partnership at the ACP-EEC Joint Assembly, the State Secretary said that in future the EC should provide help so that more democratically elected MPs from the ACP countries, rather than government ministers or diplomats, could afford to attend. Winifred Ewing (Rainbow Group) expressed concern at what she understood to be a suggestion floated by the Commission that Joint Assemblies should be held only once a year, not twice, and asked for clarification at the next meeting.
New strategy for relations with South Africa
On 29 September the Commission defined the outline for establishing a gradual normalisation of the European Community's relations with South Africa and its support for the transition to full democracy.
Following recent political developments in South Africa, especially the agreement reached on 7 September 1993 to establish a Transitional Executive Council (TEC), and the subsequent decision taken by the South African Parliament on 23 September, the Commission is ready to propose the necessary steps for the normalisation of the European Community's relations with a democratic South Africa. The TEC will for the first time provide a broadly representative interlocutor through which the European Community can consult with the South African State on a variety of issues.
The process of normalising and deepening relations with South Africa should take place in response to the acceleration of the process towards democracy itself. Some initiatives can be taken as soon as the legislation for the TEC has been passed by the South African Parliament; other actions should only be considered once the TEC is actually in place and operational; yet others must await the elections and the establishment of an interim Government of National Unity.
The Commission suggests the Council of Ministers should outline three phases in the transitional process in South Africa, gradually establishing its new relationship as and when those phases take effect:
- Enactment of the legislation establishing the Transitional Executive Council (TEC), following the decision of the South African Parliament on 23 September 1993.
- The time when the TEC is firmly established and is fully up and running.
- The effective establishment of a democratic government after the first democratic election in South Africa, which is scheduled for 27 April 1994.
In this context, the Commission will propose that the Council consider various elements, including:
- The international community lifting the sanctions that it still has in place.
- Supporting the democratic process, including the monitoring of elections.
- Launching measures to intensify economic cooperation between South Africa and the European Community.
- Opening an EC Delegation in South Africa.
- Preparing a new comprehensive framework for developing future political, trade, and economic relations.
Conference on Southern Africa
The Brussels conference on future relations between the EC and Southern Africa left one important question hanging in the air. What will become of the Lomonvention if South Africa joins the Southern African Development Community currently composed of all the front-line states?
The two accords, as they now stand, are fundamentally incompatible. The free movement of South African goods within SADC would make it impossible to accurately determine the origin of goods exported from the front-line states, which are given preferential access to the EC market under LomNor will South Africa's joining the Lomonvention prove easy. German Bundestag member and former Secretary of State for Development and Cooperation, Volkmar Kohler, understated the case when he observed that gaining the acceptance of the 69 ACP states and the 12 EC states for South Africa's membership 'could not be guaranteed'.
Speaking before an audience of diplomats, EC officials, economists, journalists and a sizeable contingent of business representatives, Alan Hirsch, economic adviser to the ANC, gave a nuanced reply to this dilemma. Hirsch said greater harmonization between the EC and South Africa would require 'probably not all provisions of Lomnd perhaps some new ones', and this could be achieved 'either inside or outside the Convention.'
Clearly, South Africa's future membership of the SADC is fraught with difficulties arising from the nation's economic profile. On paper, South Africa's economy far outstrips those of its neighbours. South Africa's GNP last year was $120bn, compared to almost $35bn for all the SADC countries combined. South Africa's GDP per capita, at $2400, dwarfs Mozambique's $80. At present, South Africa's trade with the front-line states is seven times greater than the front-line states' trade with each other. The danger of 'Big Brother' taking over the region looms large. Bernard Chidzero, the Zimbabwean Minister of Finance, spelled out his country's position: 'South Africa is the dynamo of growth, in terms of its population, GDP, infrastructure and science and technology. But it might be easier to go bilateral. Zimbabwe has already a bilateral agreement with Botswana and is negotiating one with South Africa. We don't want to undermine the accords we have - if that happened then South Africa would become a destructive force and not a constructive one... I fear that we may end up with an economic war.'
Volkmar Kohler announced that the German government will soon fix the date of a conference of foreign ministers of the EC states to discuss 'a co-operation agreement between the EC and the Southern African states, including South Africa, on a new basis... Lomill be the "little brother" of this accord.'
The stakes are high, particularly for South Africa, whose exports to the EC account for 40% of its total exports and 80% of its agricultural exports. Manuel Marin, the European Commissioner for Development, voiced his caution in his opening address to the conference. Mr Marin stated that the April 17 elections will not be the end of South Africa's problems. South Africa's economic protectionism has to go and an internal redistribution of wealth is needed. The average income of blacks in South Africa is a quarter of the national average, only 40% of the black population lives in the cities and the unemployment rate of 46% shows no sign of falling.
Africa Prize for fighting hunger
President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana and Father Nzamujo Ugwuegbulam, director of the Songhai Project in Benin, are this year's joint winners of the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger. They were presented with the
$100 000 award in Tokyo on 4 October, on the eve of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. The Africa Prize is awarded by the Hunger Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to halting the needless deaths of 10 000 Africans every day as a consequence of hunger.
President Rawlings' commitment to protecting those most vulnerable to the impact of Ghana's structural adjustment programme earned him the prize. Rawlings said Ghana's recovery programme 'depends on restoring the small-scale farmer to the centre not only of Ghana's agricultural and economic policy, but also of the country's social and political affairs.' The Ghanaian president has launched initiatives to boost employment and to provide housing, sanitation, safe water and health care to rural communities.
Father Nzamujo, a Nigerian-born Dominican priest, founded the Songhai Project, a 25-hectare agricultural research and training centre on the outskirts of Porto-Novo, Benin. Aquaculture, crop production, livestock production, nutrient recycling and biogas production are carried out under the project's motto: 'Commitment to Excellence'. Father Nzamujo became convinced during his travels to the west and in Africa that development in the western sense contributed to Africa's 'crisis', as it consistently undermined the role of the African people. The project symbolises Father Nzamujo's belief that Africa's unique ecological characteristics are advantages rather than impediments.
Over the past seven years of the Africa Prize for Leadership, the award has commonly been split each year between a national figure and the leader of a grassroots project or movement. Three of the past eleven prize winners are women.
Euro-businessmen hear of development aid opportunities
Representatives of European trade and industry gathered in Brussels on 14 and 15 October for an in-depth briefing on how to take part in development work financed by the European Community. Some 300 men and women from all over the Community and other parts of Europe were told how to identify projects of interest to them and bid for contracts in the ACP countries, the Mediterranean area, Asia and Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Euroaid '93 Conference, the first event of its kind, was a private initiative by the Brussels Chamber of Commerce and industry to mark the Belgian Presidency of the EC.
The stakes were high, said John Tattersfield of the European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations, in the chair: by the end of the century, the EC will have spent ECU 40 billion on external aid to projects in more than 160 countries. Each year the European Development Fund issued an average of at least 200 invitations to companies to tender for the supply of goods and services, and aimed to reach the widest range of businesses possible. On the ACP countries in particular, the EC's Director-General for Development, Peter Pooley, said that in 1992 the Community had committed and paid out ECU 2 ten, a record for the Lomonvention and 60% above the average for previous years; more money than ever before was going to private-sector-led schemes, because they created jobs, as well as to projects in the health and education sectors and to capacity-building. Payingout procedures were being speeded up. Mr Pooley warned, however, that funds for the second half of LomV would be tight: there would be no more unconditional commitments of aid for five years, and allocations would be made on a 'use it or lose it' basis.
Paul Frix, Director of the EC's Centre for the Development of Industry, the 'technical tool' of Lomdescribed how it could help industrialists wanting to take part in projects in ACP countries. An account of European Investment Bank loans to the private sector was given by the head of EIB operations in East Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia and Latin America, Rex Speller. The Bank, he said, did its best not to suspend relations with the private sector even in countries where governments were defaulting on repayments of EIB loans for projects involving that sector.
Experts from the EC Commission's Directorate-General for Development made the point that 70% of the development cooperation money administered by the Commission under Lomoes to the private sector, as it is private enterprise, not governments, which generates trade, exports and employment and diversifies economies. An investment of ECU four to five million in promoting Zimbabwean trade, for example, had generated ECU 100m in new exports and created 5700 jobs. Private contractors working with the Commission had a guarantee that they would be paid and that no national government could interfere in the terms of their contracts. There were major opportunities waiting for any European companies with an expertise in environmentally sustainable tourism and an interest in developing the natural advantages many African countries possessed.
A great deal of networking went on among participants, but disappointingly few representatives of the developing countries' own business interests were present - and there was only one person from the whole ACP at the conference. The organisers claimed this was because they could not afford the fares and registration fees, and suggested the EC Commission might usefully contribute to these costs in future.
An 'OPEC' system for agricultural commodities?
Frangois Guillaume, a French Member of the European Parliament, has called for the establishment, by producing countries, of OPEC-style arrangements for a range of agricultural products. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels during the ACP-EEC Joint Assembly, Mr Guillaume welcomed steps taken recently by the main coffee producing countries to restrict their exports on a voluntary basis, with a view to stabilising coffee prices. This initiative followed the failure of attempts to reach agreement with the consumer countries on an international agreement. Mr Guillaume drew attention to the fact that the international coffee price had risen considerably in the wake of the producers' agreement.
He went on to suggest that this could serve as an example for other commodities. The result, he argued, would be favourable not only to the developing countries, whose incomes would be more secure, but also to the Community's hard-pressed STABEX system.
Mr Guillaume's idea does not stop short at farm commodities produced by the developing world. He also proposed, for example, an agreement among the world's five main cereal producers - the EC, the USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina. The first four provide large subsidies to the sector and the MEP believes that such subsidies could be sharply reduced, if the states in question agreed to coordinate their activity - OPEC-style - in areas such as storage, the provision of food aid, research into new (non-food) uses for cereals and temporary measures to limit production.
This proposal seems to go against the prevailing current of trade liberalization, as reflected in the ongoing GATT talks. However, the apparently interminable negotiations under the Uruguay Round suggest that it is not all plain sailing for the ship of free trade. The link between economic stagnation and low commodity prices in the developing countries is well established. Could the coffee producers' agreement be an early indication that the wind is changing in favour of more managed markets? Mr Guillaume is presumably hoping so.
The Commission has recently taken the following decisions to provide humanitarian aid (including emergency and food aid):
Angola: ECU 2 million for displaced persons, consisting of a medical-surgical programme (at the Benguela Hospital), the purchase and transport of equipment and sanitary products (for the Bengo and Luanda provinces) and food aid aimed at tackling malnutrition.
Sudan: ECU 6.7 million for the provision and transport of foodstuffs to displaced people.
Somalia: ECU 2.6 million for displaced people and refugees, consisting of four tranches of ECU 650 000. Three of these will be in the form of medical nutritional aid while the fourth is for logistic support to the air transport operation being run from Kenya to three towns in Somalia.
Djibouti: ECU 100000 to help arrest the cholera epidemic affecting poorer areas in the refugee camps of Ali Sabieh.
Sierra Leone: ECU 500 000 for the refugee camps and a further ECU 400 000 to supply seeds, agricultural tools and basic equipment to displaced families.
Zaire: ECU I million of which ECU 600 000 is for the provision of shelters and sanitary and nutritional aid for people displaced by the inter-ethnic conflict. The remaining ECU 400 000 will form a reserve fund for the rapid implementation of other projects for displaced persons.
Senegal: ECU I million for displaced people from the Casamance, of which ECU 600000 is for medical and nutritional aid. The remaining ECU 400 000 will form a reserve fund for the rapid implementation of other projects for displaced persons in the region.
Brazil: ECU 100 000 for medical assistance aimed at checking the cholera epidemic in the north-eastern state of Ceara.
Lebanon:ECU I million to help supply the basic needs of the victims of the bombardment in southern Lebanon and of those who have fled the combat zone.
Ex-Yugoslavia: ECU 57.35 million for the victims of the conflict.
Cuba: ECU 5.5 million in the form of food aid and scientific training to help combat the neuropathic epidemic.
Georgia: ECU 2.8 million for a programme covering the purchase, transport and distribution of essential provisions and medical aid for refugees and displaced persons.
Mongolia: ECU I million for the purchase, transport and distribution of essential medicines for rural people.
Venezuela: ECU 150000 to help the victims of Hurricane Bret.
The Russian Federation: ECU 500 000 for the purchase, transport and distribution of vaccines to help tackle the growing incidence of cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis, polio and plague.
Algeria: ECU 225000 to help some 170 000 Saharan refugees in the Tindouf region of south-west Algeria. The aid will be used to tackle the food shortage which has particularly affected the children, women and elderly people among the refugees.
Azerbaijan: ECU 3 million to provide temporary shelters and essential products, for a three-month period, for displaced populations in the Arax Valley.
Nicaragua: ECU 200000 for the victims of Hurricane Bret.
Russia: ECU 300000 for medical aid for the victims of the violence in Moscow.
India: ECU 500 000 to help meet the initial basic needs of the victims of the earthquake in Maharashtra Province.
Colombia: ECU 470000 for medical assistance aimed at preventing epidemics, for the victims of earthquakes and floods in the Choco Department.
Honduras: ECU 200000 for the victims of Hurricane Gert.