|The Courier N° 134 - July - Aug 1992 - Dossier A fresh look at Africa? - Country Reports Grenada- Seychelles (EC Courier, 1992, 104 p.)|
|Dossier: A fresh look at Africa?|
A contract of solidarity
An approach shaped to individual regions is a reminder of the historic ties which warrant giving special attention to Africa, particularly in view of the destabilisation and poverty there.
Because of poor economic growth, dwindling per capita income, declining social standards and constant setbacks in world trade and income, Africa puts up varying performances.
The continent is behind in obtaining and assimilating new technology, mastering information and communication techniques and moving towards more democratic forms of society.
Aid has a poor record largely because of bad economic organisation founded on inefficient State centralisation, often undermined by corruption. So, supportwise, priority is on policies which reorganise the economic fabric and reforms already set up spontaneously.
This means a genuine contract of solidarity between the Community and Africa, with the African nations undertaking to pursue their reforms and the Community undertaking both to back them for as long as it takes and to finance short-term measures to cushion the immediate effects of the crisis.
The operating framework poses institutional difficulties, particularly when it comes to coordination in the Community, although coordination outside is a problem too.
It would be wise to envisage altering the Community's present facilities for setting up a policy here, since the current Lomé machinery is not really suitable for the type of negotiations which will now have to take place with governments if aid with structural adjustment measures and other operations is to be really effective.
Another problem is having to deal with only one partner in cooperation-the State.
Long-term cooperation schemes will continue to tackle food security, the protection of the natural environment and biodiversity and population growth problems long after restructuring is complete.
Fitting into the international economy is an aim which can only be achieved in the long term, and regional integration is a more realistic goal for cooperation for the time being.