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Putting the Kampala Principles to action: Takeaways from this year’s OECD Private Finance for Sustainable Development Week

Effective Co-operation - 3. Februar 2020 - 16:19

For the coming ten years, to be a decade of action, there is an urgent need to ensure that private investments are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve real development impact. Against this backdrop, the 2020 OECD Private Finance for Sustainable Development (PF4SD) Conference in Paris brought together a cross-section of over 600 policy and decision makers from emerging, developing and OECD countries, investors and representatives of corporations, and leading experts from development finance institutions, research centres, foundations, and civil society. During the three-day conference (28 – 30 January), speakers and participants discussed how to work better together to leverage additional finance and expertise from the private sector, and create and strengthen partnerships that deliver solutions in line with the SDGs. 

“We need to join forces to ensure that existing investments are better aligned with the SDGs, and to drive more investment towards sustainable development in the toughest contexts, to make the greatest difference”, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, urged the audience, underlining that “this requires to think beyond business as usual. The private and public sector have to work together in new ways to create incentives and to shift more finance to sustainable development outcomes and spur innovation.”

Putting the Kampala Principles to work: Inspiring case stories showing the way forward

The Kampala Principles for Effective Private Sector Engagement, launched in July 2019 in New York, were at the heart of discussions in Paris. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) facilitated a series of discussions around how to address the concerns and needs of the business community, governments, development partners, and civil society and trade unions to foster trust and work together towards the SDGs. Discussions focused on practical ways to maximise the impact of private sector engagement in development co-operation and on how to address common challenges such as partnerships between private and public actors –including a lack of safeguards in the use of public resources, insufficient attention to results and outcomes, and limited transparency and accountability. 

Concrete country insights showcased how aligning to the Kampala Principles is adding value. For example, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) shared how inclusive public-private dialogue helped to significantly improve the business environment in Kenya.  The Rwanda Development Board explained how effectively including the business community in national development planning processes can have a real impact on eradicating extreme poverty while increasing accountability and transparency among development stakeholders. 

The conference showed the great interest and ongoing efforts to actively work with the private sector on delivering on the 2030 Agenda. Yet, there remains tremendous potential for increasing the development impact of private sector partnerships on the ground. For this reason the Global Partnership and its constituents – as part of GPEDC’s new work programme – will continue to support partners in putting the Kampala Principles into action. These five Principles will help governments to align their engagement with the diverse domestic and international private sector, together with civil society and other relevant actors, to their overall strategic priorities.

Please share your case stories and examples of where the Kampala Principles are brought to life in your work and get engaged by contacting:

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Debt relief could fund climate action

D+C - 3. Februar 2020 - 12:52
German NGO reports that many developing countries are struggling with worsening debt problems

The authors assessed the debt situation of 154 developing countries and emerging markets, and found that 124 were critically indebted. Things are particularly bad in Bhutan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Sudan, Argentina, El Salvador, Jamaica, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan. is a faith-based organisation, and its recent Schuldenreport 2020 (debt report 2020), was published in cooperation with Misereor, a Catholic charity.

The report spells out clearly that the climate crisis is adding to the problems. It thus reinforces the warnings expressed by the International Bank for Settlements about the growing danger of environmental hazards triggering  financial crises risks. According to, this is particularly true of small island states and the Sahel region.

On the one hand, countries suffer shocks through extreme weather events, and they need humanitarian assistance when such disasters strike. Their domestic capacities are typically overwhelmed by massive storms, floods or droughts. On the other hand, incremental climatic change may erode an economy’s productivity, especially if agriculture is its most important sector. Both the sudden catastrophe and the slow onset erosion of productivity, can undermine a country’s capacity to service its international debt.

The authors argue that the current debt scenario differs from the one in the late 90s that ultimately led to multilateral debt relief after the turn of the millennium. This time, loans from the People’s Republic of China and its financial institutions constitute a large share of the debt. Moreover, private-sector lenders play a greater role. The implication is that more parties are involved, and it will be more difficult to broker solutions. On the upside, the governments of established donor countries are now more prepared to deal with over-indebtedness in a more flexible manner than they were in the past.

There is, however, no coherent and systematic approach to managing over-indebtedness. According to this results in harmful uncertainty. The organisation has been pointing out for years that a predictable multilateral mechanism is needed. For good reason, it does not want any donor-dominated institution to play the leading role. Though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has the necessary technical competence, it cannot serve as a fair arbiter because it is itself a lending institution.

This year’s debt report includes proposals on how to link debt relief to climate action. For example, debt servicing could be suspended after a hurricane, with the national government being permitted to use that money for disaster relief. The authors quote Pope Francis, endorsing his view that donor nations have incurred an environmental debt in poor world regions. In their eyes, this should be considered when disadvantaged countries’ debt issues or their infrastructure needs are being discussed. admits that designing policies that take these things into account will prove technically difficult. Every country is special in its own particular way, so it is hard to define rules that fit all parties and every situation. The report spells out convincingly, however, that the problems are growing and that conclusive rules on over-indebtedness would help to tackle not only financial crises, but the over-arching environmental crisis as well. It appeals to Germany’s Federal Government to:

  • ensure that climate-induced disasters do not lead to debt crises,
  • promote the establishment of a multilateral mechanism for debt relief and
  • support related multilateral and regional initiatives.


Link, 2020: Schuldenreport 2020 (so far only available in German. An English translation is being prepared and should be online on the website in April or May. The title will be: "Global Sovereign Debt Monitor 2020")

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Partnerschaft in der globalen Wissenskooperation ist keine Einbahnstraße

GDI Briefing - 3. Februar 2020 - 11:29

Bildung, Ausbildung und lebenslanges Lernen sind Schlüssel zur Entwicklung aller Länder und der persönlichen Entfaltung aller Menschen – so steht es im Nachhaltigkeitsziel 4 der Agenda 2030. Dieses Ziel ist eng verbunden mit einer globalen Partnerschaft, die im Nachhaltigkeitsziel 17 festgeschrieben ist. Denn die Fähigkeiten zur Partnerschaft sind sowohl im globalen Süden – auch im Bereich Bildung und Forschung – wie auch im globalen Norden gefordert.

Das globale Wissen ist sprunghaft gestiegen und durch das Internet zugänglicher geworden. Zugleich bleiben Paywalls oder unzureichende Infrastruktur vielerorts hohe Hürden. Zum Wissenszuwachs tragen auch vermehrt Wissenschaftler*innen aus Schwellenländern bei, deren Anteil an wissenschaftlichen Publikationen in den letzten Jahren stark gestiegen ist. Für China etwa stieg der Anteil an den weltweiten akademischen Veröffentlichung von deutlich unter drei Prozent (1996) auf mehr als 17 Prozent (2016). Auch Mexiko und Südafrika haben ihren Anteil an wissenschaftlichen Publikationen in diesem Zeitraum fast verdoppelt. Zudem sind bedeutende neue Wissenszentren (Universitäten, Forschungseinrichtungen und Startups) in anderen Ländern entstanden, wie etwa die „Silicon Savannah“ bei Nairobi.

Für nutzbares Wissen benötigen wir einerseits gutes geistiges Handwerkszeug, und zugleich die Offenheit, verschiedene Perspektiven kennen und verstehen zu wollen. Nur dann, in Kooperation, werden wir gemeinsam einen Wandel zu nachhaltigen Gesellschaften hinbekommen.

Voraussetzungen für beiderseitige Wissensgewinne

Eine erfolgreiche Wissensvermittlung und die partnerschaftliche Wissenskooperation auf Augenhöhe braucht drei Voraussetzungen: Symmetrie, Inklusion und Transfer.

Symmetrie besteht, wenn alle Seiten ihre (wissenschafts)kulturellen Prägungen anerkennen, ebenso wie die Lücken, die damit einhergehen. Niemand kann Universalwissen reklamieren; der Wert von Wissen für das globale Gemeinwohl hängt immer von der Anwendung in verschiedenen Kontexten ab. Lokale Partner sind dabei auf dieser Ebene immer die besseren Expert*innen; Außenperspektiven können unterstützen. Dies gilt auch für Wissen zu Transformation in Deutschland: So sind einige afrikanische Länder in Bereichen wie bargeldloser Bezahlung oder eBanking deutlich weiter als Mitteleuropa.

Gemeinsame Wissensproduktion beginnt mit dem Abweichen von eingetretenen (Denk-)Pfaden. Spezialisiertes Wissen für neue Herausforderungen aus Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern kann auch global helfen. Daher ist der Aspekt der Inklusion unabdingbar. Denn die Grundhaltung ist häufig „Was können wir schon von afrikanischen Ländern lernen?“. Doch mit Blick auf einzelne Aspekte der Gesundheitsvorsorge (Impfdichte) ist etwa Tansania fortschrittlicher als Deutschland.

Transfer ist der dritte, vielleicht spannendste, Aspekt der partnerschaftlichen Wissenskooperation: Der Transfer von Forschungsresultaten hat in den letzten Jahren einen deutlichen Bedeutungszuwachs erlebt. Wer den alljährlichen Global-Go-to-ThinkTank-Index der University of Pennsylvania verfolgt, dem fällt auf, dass die Think Tanks im globalen Süden zahlreicher geworden sind. Zugleich sind einige in dem Ranking auf hohen Plätzen vertreten. Unter den Aufsteigern ist auch eine ganze Reihe von Partnerinstitutionen des DIE, etwa aus dem Managing Global-Governance-Netzwerk, in dem das DIE-Training und gemeinsame Forschung und Beratung mit Partnerinstitutionen aus Schwellenländern betreibt

Individuelle Fähigkeiten

Wir müssen veränderte Realitäten anerkennen, um global erfolgreich zu sein, auch in den Ausbildungsaktivitäten des DIE, sowohl in MGG wie auch im Postgraduierten-Programm des DIE. In der internationalen Zusammenarbeit sind fachliche Expertise gefragt, ebenso wie vermeintlich weiche Faktoren. Beides wird von Partnern eingefordert: Brillante Fachlichkeit – symmetrisch, inklusiv und transferorientiert – und eine offene und verlässliche Persönlichkeit. Beide Ebenen erfordern Schulung und Training von Führungskräften – aus Deutschland, Europa und aus Partnerländern.

Wir müssen unsere Sichtweisen den Anforderungen des 21. Jahrhunderts anpassen, nicht den Erinnerungen an unsere technologische und politische Dominanz der Welt von gestern. Dies gibt uns neue Möglichkeiten von Partnerschaften – und erfordert, dass wir unsere Fähigkeiten auf neue und künftige Bedürfnisse ausrichten.

Das Postgraduierten-Programm am DIE legt einen Schwerpunkt der neunmonatigen Ausbildung auf Vor-Ort-Arbeitserfahrungen. Insgesamt sieben Monate wird in Forschungsteams in Partnerländern gemeinsam praktisch zu lokalen wie globalen Fragen geforscht und Empfehlungen für Entscheider*innen erarbeitet – in Teams und mit Partnern des globalen Südens. Die Forschungsteams werden jedes Jahr neu und an lokale Bedingungen angepasst entwickelt.

Im Programm Managing Global Governance arbeitet das DIE gemeinsam mit jungen Führungskräften von Partnerorganisationen aus großen Schwellenländern zu globalen Fragen. Teilnehmer*innen des knapp viermonatigen Programms kommen aus Brasilien, China, Indien, Indonesien, Mexiko und Südafrika sowie aus Deutschland bzw. Europa. Sie treten in einen angeleiteten fachlichen Austausch zu globalen Fragen und lernen voneinander über Leitungs- und Kooperationskultur ihrer Länder.

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How school meals can fight malnutrition

Devex - 3. Februar 2020 - 10:44
Kategorien: english

03.02.2020 On the eve of his tour of Nigeria, Sudan and Egypt, Development Minister Gerd Müller announces "We are strengthening our initiatives in the Sahel region and surrounding countries."

German BMZ - 3. Februar 2020 - 0:00
German Development Minister Gerd Müller will be visiting Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan between 3 and 7 February. Before departing on his tour, Minister Müller said, "In the Sahel region and surrounding countries, the challenges facing our neighbouring continent are particularly starkly apparent: security and peace, food security, water, energy and ever more rapid population growth. That is why we are working on a new strategy to bring stability to the region. I am currently engaged in ...
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Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable

UNSDN - 2. Februar 2020 - 16:05

The World Social Report 2020, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), shows that income inequality has increased in most developed countries, and some middle-income countries – including China, which has the world’s fastest growing economy.

The challenges are underscored by UN chief António Guterres in the foreword, in which he states that the world is confronting “the harsh realities of a deeply unequal global landscape”, in which economic woes, inequalities and job insecurity have led to mass protests in both developed and developing countries.

“Income disparities and a lack of opportunities”, he writes, “are creating a vicious cycle of inequality, frustration and discontent across generations.”

‘The one per cent’ winners take (almost) all

The study shows that the richest one per cent of the population are the big winners in the changing global economy, increasing their share of income between 1990 and 2015, while at the other end of the scale, the bottom 40 per cent earned less than a quarter of income in all countries surveyed.

One of the consequences of inequality within societies, notes the report, is slower economic growth. In unequal societies, with wide disparities in areas such as health care and education, people are more likely to remain trapped in poverty, across several generations.

Between countries, the difference in average incomes is reducing, with China and other Asian nations driving growth in the global economy. Nevertheless, there are still stark differences between the richest and poorest countries and regions: the average income in North America, for example, is 16 times higher than that of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Four global forces affecting inequality

The report looks at the impact that four powerful global forces, or megatrends, are having on inequality around the world: technological innovation, climate change, urbanization and international migration.

Whilst technological innovation can support economic growth, offering new possibilities in fields such as health care, education, communication and productivity, there is also evidence to show that it can lead to increased wage inequality, and displace workers.

Rapid advances in areas such as biology and genetics, as well as robotics and artificial intelligence, are transforming societies at pace. New technology has the potential to eliminate entire categories of jobs but, equally, may generate entirely new jobs and innovations.

For now, however, highly skilled workers are reaping the benefits of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”, whilst low-skilled and middle-skilled workers engaged in routine manual and cognitive tasks, are seeing their opportunities shrink.

Opportunities in a crisis

As the UN’s 2020 report on the global economy showed last Thursday, the climate crisis is having a negative impact on quality of life, and vulnerable populations are bearing the brunt of environmental degradation and extreme weather events. Climate change, according to the World Social Report, is making the world’s poorest countries even poorer, and could reverse progress made in reducing inequality among countries.

If action to tackle the climate crisis progresses as hoped, there will be job losses in carbon-intensive sectors, such as the coal industry, but the “greening” of the global economy could result in overall net employment gains, with the creation of many new jobs worldwide.

For the first time in history, more people live in urban than rural areas, a trend that is expected to continue over the coming years. Although cities drive economic growth, they are more unequal than rural areas, with the extremely wealthy living alongside the very poor.

The scale of inequality varies widely from city to city, even within a single country: as they grow and develop, some cities have become more unequal whilst, in others, inequality has declined.

Migration a ‘powerful symbol of global inequality’

The fourth megatrend, international migration, is described as both a “powerful symbol of global inequality”, and “a force for equality under the right conditions”.

Migration within countries, notes the report, tends to increase once countries begin to develop and industrialize, and more inhabitants of middle-income countries than low-income countries migrate abroad.

International migration is seen, generally, as benefiting both migrants, their countries of origin (as money is sent home) and their host countries.

In some cases, where migrants compete for low-skilled work, wages may be pushed down, increasing inequality but, if they offer skills that are in short supply, or take on work that others are not willing to do, they can have a positive effect on unemployment.

Harness the mega-trends for a better world

Despite a clear widening of the gap between the haves and have-nots worldwide, the report points out that this situation can be reversed. Although the megatrends have the potential to continue divisions in society, they can also, as the Secretary-General says in his foreword, “be harnessed for a more equitable and sustainable world”. Both national governments and international organizations have a role to play in levelling the playing field and creating a fairer world for all.

Reducing inequality should, says the report, play a central role in policy-making. This means ensuring that the potential of new technology is used to reduce poverty and create jobs; that vulnerable people grow more resilient to the effects of climate change; cities are more inclusive; and migration takes place in a safe, orderly and regular manner.

Three strategies for making countries more egalitarian are suggested in the report: the promotion of equal access to opportunities (through, for example, universal access to education); fiscal policies that include measures for social policies, such as unemployment and disability benefits; and legislation that tackles prejudice and discrimination, whilst promoting greater participation of disadvantaged groups.

While action at a national level is crucial, the report declares that “concerted, coordinated and multilateral action” is needed to tackle major challenges affecting inequality within and among countries.

The report’s authors conclude that, given the importance of international cooperation, multilateral institutions such as the UN should be strengthened and action to create a fairer world must be urgently accelerated.

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides the blueprint for a better future for people and the planet, recognizes that major challenges require internationally coordinated solutions, and contains concrete and specific targets to reduce inequality, based on income.

Source: UN News

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The digital building blocks of better communities

UN #SDG News - 31. Januar 2020 - 21:18
In cities and communities across the world, citizens of all ages and backgrounds are getting the chance to literally play an important role in redesigning their public spaces, thanks to an innovative collaboration between the UN, and the company behind the popular computer game Minecraft.
Kategorien: english

The digital building blocks of better communities

UN ECOSOC - 31. Januar 2020 - 21:18
In cities and communities across the world, citizens of all ages and backgrounds are getting the chance to literally play an important role in redesigning their public spaces, thanks to an innovative collaboration between the UN, and the company behind the popular computer game Minecraft.
Kategorien: english

Relation client, quelques pratiques à mettre en œuvre afin de l’améliorer

UN Food and Hunger - 31. Januar 2020 - 12:47

La relation client est au centre des préoccupations de nombreuses entreprises. Conscientes de son importance, quelques-unes d’entre elles décident de sous-traiter cet aspect de leur activité tandis que d’autres l’assureront en interne. Si vous êtes dans le deuxième cas ou si vous avez votre propre entreprise de relation client, différentes pratiques vous permettront d’améliorer la qualité de cette dernière. N’hésitez donc pas à lire la suite de l’article afin d’en savoir plus.

L’importance de l’accueil téléphonique pour une entreprise

Le principal enjeu de la permanence téléphonique c’est de fournir aux clients des informations de qualité qui permettront d’améliorer la relation client. Cette dernière est très importante, car elle véhicule une certaine image de l’entreprise à sa clientèle. Ce sont là, les principales raisons qui poussent les coopératives à investir énormément dans cet aspect de leur activité.

Être à l’écoute, un point essentiel

Afin d’améliorer la qualité de la relation client, la première chose à faire est d’écouter ses interlocuteurs ; ils ont, en effet, des réclamations précises auxquelles il faudra répondre. En plus, selon les statistiques, ce sont 95 % des clients qui ont rencontré un problème et qui ont trouvé la solution par l’intermédiaire d’un appel qui seront les plus fidèles. Cela contribuera aussi grandement à améliorer l’image de marque de l’entreprise. Une bonne écoute et une bonne réactivité seront donc essentielles. Ne pas répondre aux plaintes ou tarder d’y répondre serait par conséquent contre-productif et nuirait grandement à la qualité de votre relation client.

Rester naturel : la clef de la réussite

Pour que le téléopérateur soit le plus efficace possible. Il est important qu’il adopte une certaine attitude. Sa façon de s’exprimer ne doit être ni familière ni vulgaire, mais surtout par jargonnante afin de pouvoir se faire bien comprendre. Le ton de la voix doit quant à lui être calme et posé tout en restant professionnel. Il est aussi important d’être souriant, car cela se ressent à l’autre bout du fil. Cela a aussi pour avantage de mettre le client (ou le prospect) à l’aise au cours de vos différentes interactions. La voix de l’opérateur doit être, quant à elle, assez grave afin de pouvoir se faire bien entendre et son rythme conversationnel doit être fluide.
Il est aussi possible d’écrire des scripts types mais flexibles qui permettront d’anticiper les demandes des clients. Cela permettra d’établir une ligne directrice qui aidera vos collaborateurs au cours de leurs activités professionnelles.

Conclure une conversation : un détail qui a son importance

La conclusion de la conversation est un paramètre important dont il faut tenir compte. Pour cela, différentes formules comme « merci de votre appel », « à bientôt » concluront agréablement les appels. L’essentiel c’est d’éviter d’être trop dur et de terminer les appels en douceur, poliment, mais aussi avec le sourire. Certaines personnes auront cependant besoin de faire beaucoup d’efforts pour y arriver.

Automatiser certaines demandes récurrentes, une valeur ajoutée à votre entreprise

Les demandes qui reviennent plus de dix fois par jour peuvent être automatisées afin de gagner en productivité. Ces requêtes peuvent en effet être déléguées à une intelligence artificielle tandis que les téléopérateurs se focaliseront sur les missions à forte valeur ajoutée. Il faut toutefois éviter l’excès d’automatisation au risque de perdre le caractère humain de la relation client. Sur ce, bonne chance, pour le reste.

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Time for bold initiatives to tackle inequalities and climate change

OECD - 31. Januar 2020 - 12:34
By Filippos Pierros, Minister-Counsellor, Vice-Chair of the Development Assistance Committee and the Development Centre Governing Board [i] With the resounding failure of the UN COPs to mobilize a strong international response to climate change and inequality, concerned citizens around the world are rightly beginning to show frustration and even anger. And yet, at long last … Continue reading Time for bold initiatives to tackle inequalities and climate change
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South Africa’s time bomb

D+C - 31. Januar 2020 - 9:23
Five proposals for improving labour-market dynamics in South Africa

The Arab Spring showed clearly what can happen when masses of young people suffer political and economic distress. It also taught us that the future is unpredictable. If South Africa’s government wants to keep the time bomb of the many desperate, unemployed and barely educated young people from exploding, it must implement structural reforms in the labour market.

Forty-eight percent of the age group under 34 have no job. The subgroup worst affected are the 18- to 24-year-olds who are entering the labour market. Three-quarters of unemployed young people have never had a job. Women are particularly often out of work (their jobless rate is 59 %). For both sexes, the situation is particularly bad in rural areas. Black South Africans are more likely to be unemployed than any other ethnic group. Education is an important factor for success in the labour market: a university degree raises the chances of finding a job  to 95 %.

Though the situation looks bleak for the average young person, it is not immutable. The following five proposals could be implemented in South Africa without the government having to change the political system, administrative structures or its political goals.

Promote economic activity in selected places and sectors

Stimulating economic growth at local levels has helped many regions around the world to progress. Pudong, which is part of Shanghai, was transformed from an agricultural area into a modern business hub with some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers in the past 20 years. Such vertiginous growth was driven by two factors: policymakers’ focus on one place and the focus on a specific economic sector, fostering the growth of an investment environment that includes suppliers and logistics as well as training and education opportunities.

Most of South Africa’s special economic zones are not or not sufficiently focused on specific industries. Furthermore, they are not always located in medium-sized, high-potential cities. They tend to be in places with no infrastructure, tiny labour forces and few links to value chains. At that same time, the country does have industrial clusters that could be further developed. The automotive industry is an example. Multinational car manufacturers such as BMW, Ford, Mercedes and Toyota have run plants, mainly in the north of Gauteng Province and in the suburbs of Port Elizabeth and East London.

Tourism is important too. It already accounts for 10 % of GDP and offers lots of job opportunities. The tourism potential is huge and far from exhausted. Strong points include fine summer weather during the northern hemisphere’s winter, prices that are low by international standards, cultural diversity, top museums, good food and, last but not least, natural attractions such as the Kruger National Park and the Garden Route. South Africa is an alluring destination for international tourists.

There is also potential for developing the film industry. Comparatively low costs make the country an interesting option for international productions. Other industries, including agricultural processing and renewable energy, should also be considered for government support.

Turn young people into entrepreneurs

Many young people in the townships have ideas for their own business, but they do not act on them. A pilot project that I initiated as part of my field research addressed to what extent it makes sense to promote entrepreneurship among young men and women. Doing so actually creates prospects.

Participants were selected based on three criteria:

  • they had to be unemployed South ­Africans,
  • have a business idea that was not too complex and
  • show great motivation.

The three-day training course included inviting feedback from outsiders. Participants had to surmount the hurdle of approaching strangers, present their business idea and then accept unbiased feedback. At the end of the three days, each participant was assigned a mentor for further support.

Of the 11 business ideas presented, five generated turnover immediately after the workshop. They included a fitness studio, a family counselling practice, a fruit delivery service and an interior design business.

Help small and medium-sized enterprises grow

When small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow, new jobs are generated. As companies expand, they become better able to become involved in international value chains, which, in turn, drives economic growth at the local level.

To create jobs that are genuinely new and not cannibalise employment elsewhere in South Africa, growth needs to result ­either from exports or from substituting imports. To get there, SMEs typically need support for rolling out marketing strategies, streamlining operations or optimising cash flows. Such support can take the form of targeted advice. Specific training programmes for SME owners and managers would make sense too.

Close the intercontinental employment gap

Labour markets around the world differ very much in regard to supply and demand. Ageing societies lack young people who could fill vacancies, while other countries suffer high unemployment. In Germany, for example, skilled labour is in short supply. Nursing is one of the areas affected, with 300,000 vacancies forecast in the next 10 years.

South Africa, on the other hand, has lots of unemployed or underemployed care workers. Sending them to Germany will benefit both countries. But there are challenges – concerning, for example, immigration rules, language acquisition and intercultural skills on both sides.

The uNowanga programme is run by the Order of St. John. It offers an opportunity for disadvantaged young South Africans to become nursing professionals with certified skills recognised in Germany. Those qualifying to participate in the programme embark on four years of training in South Africa and Germany. In the first year, they learn German at the Goethe Institute and work at a German nursing home in South Africa. The Order of St. John is involved in running this nursing home. Once their German is good enough, the young men and women join a training programme in nursing or geriatric care in Germany. Afterwards, they can either work in Germany and support their families in South Africa financially or return to South Africa with enhanced skills.

Tailor training programmes to demand

Despite South Africa’s very high youth unemployment, managers in almost all sectors find it difficult to fill vacancies. In particular, there is a lack of well-trained specialists. Education systems are not geared to market demand. That is true of both government and private-sector schools. Many companies thus run their own skills-training programmes. One side effect is high personnel expenses which reduce South African companies’ international competitiveness. The situation is particularly tense in the tech sector.

The root of the problem lies in the lack of interaction between employers, the education sector and young people. The latter do not understand the value of vocational training, they are unaware of what training options are available, and they do not know what kind of occupations offer good prospects. Employers neither cooperate sufficiently with training institutions, nor do they understand well what challenges young people face. Skills trainers, on the other hand, find it difficult to recruit young people, to tailor their curricula to the employers’ needs and to help graduates find work. They typically also lack funding.

The solution is to gear training programmes to labour market demand. Employers, schools and youths must interact. First, employers should identify their needs. Then they should communicate detailed training requirements to the educational institutions and cooperate on drafting curricula that include both theoretical lessons and shop-floor training. Through on-the-job training, employers and potential employees get to know each other, which helps to secure employment after graduation. Companies and training institutions should then together address young people, explaining the advantages of vocational training. They include no tuition and good job opportunities in the future.

These five proposals could defuse the time bomb of youth unemployment. There is thus hope for South Africa’s future. However, the road ahead is long and rocky, and it will take considerable effort and perseverance to negotiate it.

uNowanga training programme:

Maximilian Matschke wrote his PhD thesis on scenarios for youth unemployment in South Africa in 2035 in collaboration with the University of Mainz, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town. He initiated several youth-support organisations in South Africa, including the uNowanga programme and the entrepreneurship boot camp mentioned in this essay.

Kategorien: english

Successful businesses

D+C - 31. Januar 2020 - 8:53
Examples of successful tech start-ups whose founders have graduated from the MEST Training Program

MeQasa, founded by Kelvin Nyame, Kofi Amuasi and Rashad Seini from the MEST Class of 2013, is Ghana’s leading online marketplace for real estate. The company cooperates with brokers, owners and tenants to provide reliable information for housing as well as commercial properties. MeQasa acquired JumiaHouse Ghana in 2017, which established the real estate platform as Ghana’s largest and most trusted.

Asoriba, a church administration and community platform, was founded in 2015 and operates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The four co-founders, Saviour Enyam Dzage, Nana Opoku W. O. Agyeman-Prempeh, Patrick Ohemeng Tutu and Jesse Johnson, found common ground during the MEST Training Program. The app allows members to receive devotionals and information on events, as well as send prayer requests or donate money.

Leti Arts is a company founded by Eyram Tawia from Ghana and Wesley Kirinya from Kenya in 2009. As game studio with offices in Accra and Nairobi, Leti Arts aims to leverage African talent to develop high-quality media games, comics and mobile apps. The core themes in Leti’s products are stories of African superheroes. The company strives to build games that can compete on the world market like the recently created interactive quiz game MTN Ghana’s Hottseat.

Amplify, a company founded by MEST Class of 2015’s Segun Adeyemi and Maxwell Obi, is a payment solution. Its flagship product, Amplifypay, offers an automated way for businesses to collect recurring payments. Amplify was acquired by a Nigerian fintech company in 2019.

Kategorien: english

“Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not”

D+C - 31. Januar 2020 - 8:42
MEST Ghana trains young high-tech entrepreneurs and promotes African talents

What does MEST Africa do exactly?
MEST’s work can be broken down into three pillars:

  • The MEST Training Program is a one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship in Accra. MEST Africa was built on the idea that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We call our participants entrepreneurs-in-training and grant them a full scholarship for an MBA-type education (Master of Business Administration) with a focus on software development. It is an intensive hands-on programme led by a Pan-African staff with input provided by guest lecturers who are experts in their fields. A group of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs is selected. The current cohort represents 14 countries across Africa. The programme focuses on the kinds of skills entrepreneurs need. The core topics are communications, business and technology.
  • MEST Seed Funding: Graduates of the Training Program and winners of the annual MEST Africa Challenge competition are invited to pitch proposals to our board of experienced investors. The winners receive funding worth $ 50,000 to $ 250,000 to help them launch and scale their companies in one of our Pan-African incubators.
  • We run MEST Hubs in four cities: Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, and Cape Town. They serve as ecosystem centres for entrepreneurship. Currently, they provide services to more than 50 start-ups. This includes on-the-ground support, mentorship and a global network.

How many men and women are enrolled?
About one-third of the current 56-person cohort is female. MEST plans to run a female-targeted Bootcamp to apply for MEST and we are aiming for parity for the next MEST Training Program cohort.

How does one join your training programme?
Our target group is aspiring entrepreneurs from across Africa. First, they submit an application through our online portal. Successful applicants move to take a skills assessment test to evaluate their strengths and further filter down the pool. After qualified applicants pass the skills assessment there are rounds of phone and group interviews until we narrow down to one-on-one interviews. Typically about 50 to 100 applicants get to this final stage. During the one-on-one interview, applicants spend between 30 to 45 minutes with the judging panel. The panel asks questions about the applicant’s CV, profile and experience. Every year in August, MEST admits up to 60 new entrepreneurs-in-training.

What happens after graduation?
Entrepreneurs-in-training join MEST with a drive to create a tech start-up. Whether in social or traditional sectors, the companies they create address particular needs. They strive to create productive disruption. Graduates have launched companies all over Africa. We want to support globally successful companies that can create wealth and generate jobs in Africa. Not all graduates get seed funding, but those who do not often go on to make a difference as managers and leaders in their various sectors nonetheless. We consider all alumni part of the MEST family and regularly encourage them to come back and pitch any ideas for funding in the future. One of our mottos is: “Once a MESTer, always a MESTer”. All alumni have access to our vast network of mentors, alumni and partners.

How did MEST come about – and why is it based in Ghana?
MEST was launched in 2008 by Meltwater founder and CEO Jorn Lyseggen as a Pan-African training programme, seed fund and tech hub. MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence. The idea was that, with the right support and guidance, people can achieve great things, and that young Africans, in particular, must be offered more and better opportunities. We have shown that a new generation of young, successful, globally-minded software entrepreneurs can originate in Africa.

Veronica Mulhall is the head of marketing at MEST Africa and is based in Accra.

Kategorien: english

How mobile money is rebuilding lives in Sudan

UN ECOSOC - 31. Januar 2020 - 6:20
When Mohammed Ahmed left Sudan in search of better life, he couldn’t have imagined that he would find financial security back home. But, some four years later, he now runs a thriving business, thanks to an innovative scheme involving the UN migration agency (IOM), based on the use of mobile money.
Kategorien: english

The UK leaves, we stay: introducing ODI Europe

ODI - 31. Januar 2020 - 0:00
The UK may be leaving the EU, but ODI will remain engaged as we celebrate our 60th anniversary year and the Decade of Delivery for the SDGs.
Kategorien: english

Clearing the jobs hurdle

D+C - 30. Januar 2020 - 16:38
What helps Africa’s growing, youthful population find productive jobs in rural areas

Development experts are taking aim at a major problem in Africa: finding meaningful jobs for the estimated 25 million young people who enter the labour market each year. By 2030, an eye-popping 320 million new jobs need to be created.

Nearly half of the new labour-market entrants live in rural areas and about 70 % of them are under 30 years of age. The scale of the need for jobs and the impact of employment on economic growth make it crucial to design employment-promotion programmes that are efficient and effective.

Youths seeking work in Africa’s rural areas face a range of daunting problems: their access to land, markets, credit, skills training and job-placement services is very limited. Therefore, they tend to be unemployed, underemployed or engaged in subsistence-level self-employment.

To find out how to improve matters, the GIZ on behalf of the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned a study to evaluate 11 employment-promotion programmes that are implemented by GIZ.

The study, titled “What works in rural youth employment promotion?” identified good practices that should guide rural youth employment promotion:

Consider institutional scenario

Programmes to promote youth employment must align with national or continental development agendas. They must foster a sense of stakeholder ownership.

A good example is the Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) programme. ATVET is part of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme for agricultural transformation in Africa which, in turn, is a flagship initiative of the African Union (AU). ATVET promotes agricultural technical training in 12 AU member states. Its training materials match national certification requirements, so governmental training centres can use them easily. The positioning under the AU gives the ATVET programme considerable weight among national partners, who see it as a continent-wide, government-led initiative.

In general, programmes should rely on local structures. It makes sense to link training elements or other support activities to national policies and employment promotion. Embedding programmes in national frameworks may add to their complexity, but it certainly contributes to efficacy.

Another good example is the “Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme”. It involves various public institutions and promotes financial literacy. Its curricula can be integrated into the national education system, so over 60,000 young people are reached across the country.

Give young people a say

Rural youths often believe that policymakers do not take their interests into account. The GIZ’s “Food Security Through Improved Agricultural Productivity” is designed to change that perception. The programme advises national and local officials in Kenya on promoting sustainable agriculture.

Moreover, the programme involves youth associations in consultations on national strategies that affect rural youth, especially in agriculture. By giving youth people a channel to speak directly with their national and subnational governments, the programme earns trust and helps governments to draft better-targeted policies.

Update reputation of agriculture

Rural youth often see agriculture as a low-opportunity occupation with outmoded working practices. Employment-promotion programmes can change this perception by highlighting promising opportunities, good working conditions and modern practices.

For example, programmes can promote the development of modern agri-food networks. Food processing and food delivery are important components of feeding a population. Agri-food systems include parties who grow, harvest, process, package, transport and market agricultural products. Consumers, restaurants and waste disposal matter too.

Offering youth a broader view of agriculture and related industries can help to spark their interest. They should be told about the economic opportunities afforded by coordinating agri-food networks. Throughout the value chain, there are attractive on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities.

Broaden of employment promotion

Employment promotion involves a range of activities, including skills-training, enterprise development and matchmaking services. Better coordination and integration can increase impact.

A good example is offered by Morocco’s “Promoting Youth Employment in Rural Areas” programme. Commissioned by the BMZ and carried out by the GIZ in cooperation with agencies of the Moroccan government, this programme has developed an integrated approach to employment promotion in rural areas.

It focuses on establishing local job centres in rural areas in collaboration with grass-roots organisations. The centres provide job-matching services, and offer short-term skills training adapted to local needs. Beyond that, the programme is spawning a support ecosystem for young entrepreneurs by establishing local employment committees to initiate a multi-actor process of dialogue. These committees are led by the local provincial governor and consist of representatives from the public and private sector, as well as from civil society.

Promote growth

Multi-component approaches are especially useful in rural areas with limited support structures. They allow individuals who have completed entrepreneurship training sessions to access financial services or follow-up support such as mentoring. The idea is to offer interconnected support.

A good example is GIZ’s “Employment Promotion Programme” in Sierra Leone. Successful graduates of its basic skills-training sessions have an opportunity to participate in a coaching programme delivered by the GIZ. It is called “SME Loop”. SME stands for small and mid-size enterprises. The SME Loop trains young entrepreneurs in business skills, product/market positioning, entrepreneurial attitude, negotiating skills, customer relations and financial literacy. SME Loop graduates can apply for funding for their companies from the GIZ-managed programme “Facility for Innovation”.

Help indentitfy market niches

New entrepreneurs often do not know where to start. A good way to help them is to identify potential opportunities by means of a “business opportunity study”. The Tunisian “Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development” programme, for example, uses such studies to identify business opportunities within agriculture value chains. It has helped young rural entrepreneurs to develop business ideas that respond to real market needs.

Use relevant criteria

Monitoring and evaluating programme success is crucial. The yardsticks used should be specific to rural youth. In the past, indicators showing the degree of success in promoting rural youth employment were often added belatedly to a previously defined evaluation framework. In the case of Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training for Women (ATVET4Women), for example, the current performance indicators largely fail to reflect the programme’s gender-transformative approach. In its upcoming second phase, ATVET4Women will introduce a new theory of change with more relevant indicators.

Share best practices

As youth employment promotion in rural areas is a relatively new topic, the exchange of experiences among programmes can help turn a successful innovation into mainstream practice.

There are many good examples of sharing best practices. Continental or global GIZ programmes like “Employment for Sustainable Development in Africa” (E4D) or “Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector” have strong peer-learning elements that help them replicate good practices. E4D, for example, conducts regular conferences at which financiers, government officers and scholars assess results and lessons learnt with E4D team members.

Coordinate among partners

Youth employment is a subject that involves many actors and cuts across several government departments. So-called “silo-thinking” often blocks progress. One way to overcome it is strong coordination among all parties involved. Steering committees can ensure that all parties align their actions and take into account perspectives they did not consider in the past.

For example, both the “Eco-Emploi” programme in Rwanda and the “Agricultural Value Chains for Sustainable Development” (A4SD) programme have established steering committees to set priorities and coordinate interventions. The committees include representatives from relevant ministries, private-sector companies and vocational training schools as well as technical experts. Their meetings help to build trust, foster cooperation and coordinate action.

Seek co-funding

Co-funding can increase programme flexibility as partners strive to achieve complementary goals. Some programmes thus have multiple financing partners, including the EU, philanthropic foundations and private sector entities.

For example, co-funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped the A4SD programme to expand its scale. At the same time, it encouraged other private sector partners to participate.

More information about GIZ work on rural youth employment promotion:

Claudia Knobloch is a director of Endeva UG, a Berlin-based research and consulting institute.

Christian Pirzer is a project lead at Endeva UG.

Kategorien: english

Advocating for the private sector

D+C - 30. Januar 2020 - 15:28
Liberian business leaders want their government to tackle specific challenges

In Liberia in recent months, anti-government sentiment has been rising because of a worsening economic and societal crisis. Against this background, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) wanted to assess the country’s current situation. It conducted the country’s very first business-condition survey with support of Hamburg’s Chamber of Commerce.

The survey was carried out among 126 companies in Monrovia in December 2019. They belonged to different sectors. Half of them rated the current economic situation as bad. Only nine percent considered it good. Negative factors included:
the high cost of – and unreliable access to – electric power, safe drinking water and fuel,

  • high interest rates,
  • inadequate access to financial ­ser­vices,
  • the volatile exchange rate and
  • poor infrastructure, especially roads.

For businesses to grow and hire more people, these things must improve. Many companies currently rely on diesel generators, and piped-water services are yet to be fully restored.

There were also complaints about government agencies. They related to taxes, lack of coordination among different agencies as well as difficulties in obtaining or renewing licenses, permits and registrations.

Liberia was once called the “Pepper Coast” because of the wide availability of malagueta pepper. The country exports rubber, timber, iron ore, gold, diamonds and oil. But even though the economy is based on commodity exports, foreign-trade regulations are not clear in this sector. Business leaders complain that they:

  • have to present too many documents,
  • rules are non-transparent, and
  • national tariffs are not aligned with those of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the regional organisation Liberia belongs to.

There is good news too. For this year, 43 % of respondents expected things to improve for their business, though 31 % expected the situation to worsen. A sense of hope was evident. Many interviewees said that their companies needed the government to set an appropriate framework. The list of complaints indicated defines priorities for Liberia’s government.

The result of the survey was presented to the business community at a meeting at the Liberia Chamber of Commerce. Business leaders welcomed the publication of the business condition report. Media coverage was good. However, one manager was disappointed because the government did not send anyone to the report launch.

Torsten König, head of statistics at Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, supported LCC in setting up the new investment-climate assessment. He says it is essential to “ask the right questions, collect and collate data accurately and draw relevant conclusions” (see article by Michael Konow in Tribune section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2018/05). In his eyes, business-condition surveys are the most powerful tool a chamber has at its disposal. König emphasises that the ultimate purpose is to advise the government.

Business membership organisations (BMO) such as LCC play a key role in monitoring government action. They speak out for the business community. A majority of three-quarters of respondents said they wanted a BMO to advocate on their behalf. The LLC thus has a very strong mandate. It was established in 1951 and today represents over 350 companies and business associations, including multinational companies such as Firestone. The LCC also represents Liberia’s employers in tripartite arrangements with the government and trade unions.

Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC):

SalaMartu Stephanie Duncan is secretary general of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Konow heads the Department for International Projects and Partnerships at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

Kategorien: english

Informal refugee settlements

D+C - 30. Januar 2020 - 15:05
Syrians living in Lebanon’s informal refugee settlements lack proper infrastructure

Unlike during the Palestinian refugee crisis 70 years ago, the Lebanese government decided not to rely on camps in which people would centrally be taken care of. One reason was the experience with the Palestinian camps which became permanent settlements. The Lebanese authorities do not want something like that to happen again (see main story).

Syrian refugees are thus now dispersed all over the country and are mostly left to themselves. More than one third of them live in the Beqaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. This is an agrarian region with rather poor infrastructure and a struggling economy. Informal settlements mark the landscape. The makeshift huts are made of plastic tarpaulin and wood, dotting land formerly used as fields. The residents pay rent, though some owners allow them to stay free of charge.

The new settlements are typically located outside villages along main roads or behind the villages. The feeder roads that lead there are generally in poor condition. Many are mere dirt tracks. Most people walk to the main road to take a collective taxi or a minibus if they want to go to a town. As is true in Lebanon in general, there is hardly any public transport in the Beqaa Valley. The train line that linked Damascus to Aleppo in the past was discontinued in the mid-1970s, shortly after the Civil War erupted.

In winter, the condition of the dirt roads deteriorates. Sometimes, they cannot be used at all. In this sense, the refugees living in settlements along the main roads are at an advantage. The downside is they have traffic. There are no sidewalks or bicycle trails, so pedestrians and playing children are at serious risk of accidents. Due to many deadly incidents, the road from the village Bar Elias to Baalbek is now called “the road of death”. It passes by several informal settlements. 

Kategorien: english

J’ai besoin d’être aidé à domicile : comment faire ?

UN Food and Hunger - 30. Januar 2020 - 14:36

Avec l’augmentation du nombre de personnes âgées, la profession d’aide à domicile connaît aussi une certaine expansion. En effet, les jeunes sont plusieurs à se tourner vers les formations pour devenir aide à domicile auprès des organismes spécialisés. D’autre part, les personnes en perte d’autonomie, handicapées ou victimes d’accidents ont besoin d’aide venant de ces professionnels. Mais, comment doit-on se former pour exercer dans le métier d’aide à domicile ?

Quelles sont les missions d’une aide à domicile ?

Avant toute chose, il faut préciser qu’une aide à domicile a pour principale obligation de veiller au bien-être d’une personne. Que ce soit un handicapé, accidenté, malade, senior ou en perte d’autonomie, il est de votre devoir de prendre soin de ces individus. Ainsi, le service à la personne ne se concentre pas seulement sur la prise en charge sanitaire et matérielle, vu que vous devez apporter un soutien moral à votre client.

Du point de vue matériel, l’aide aura pour rôle d’assister la personne à sa charge durant la réalisation des tâches quotidiennes. Ces dernières sont souvent en relation avec l’alimentation, le logement et les déplacements. Vous serez amené à vous occuper des démarches administratives de votre client. Si vous vous occupez d’une personne malade, vous devez contacter son médecin ou les professionnels de santé en cas de besoin.

En général, vous allez travailler pour un particulier qui a besoin d’aide pour s’occuper d’un parent ou exercer comme femme de ménage par exemple. Dans ce cas, vous avez deux choix, soit vous opérez en tant que salarié, soit comme employé d’un prestataire ou d’une association.

Les diplômes professionnels à avoir pour exercer le service à domicile

Actuellement, il existe d’innombrables instituts qui proposent une gamme complète de formation pour devenir une aide à domicile. Afin de suivre une formation dans ce domaine, vous devez être en possession de l’un des diplômes suivants :

  • CAP d’assistant technique en milieu collectif et familial
  • CAP petite enfance
  • CAPA avec une option dans les services en milieu rural

L’un de ces diplômes vous permet d’accéder à la fonction d’aide à domicile en intégrant une structure publique ou privée. Vous avez également la possibilité d’agir en tant qu’aide à domicile indépendant et travailler chez un particulier à votre propre compte. Ainsi, vous avez le choix entre les diverses formations proposées pour obtenir des diplômes et des certificats :

  • Diplôme d’État pour être une auxiliaire de vie sociale
  • BEPA avec option services aux personnes
  • Bac pro en accompagnement, services et soins à la personne reçue après avoir suivi 3 ans de formation
  • BEP carrières sanitaires et sociales avec une formation de 1 an pour avoir le diplôme d’aide à domicile.
Comment opérer dans le service d’aide à domicile sans diplôme ?

Vous n’êtes pas en possession d’un bac, mais vous voulez suivre la formation ? Sachez qu’il est désormais possible de faire la formation pour service à domicile sans diplôme avec des cours à distance.

Effectivement, plusieurs centres procurent à présent ce type de formation avec une durée établie selon vos disponibilités. En fonction de vos besoins, vous aurez le choix entre suivre une formation normale ou accélérée.

Les qualités humaines que vous devez avoir

Étant donné que l’aide à domicile est un métier qui doit refléter la compassion, avoir des qualités humaines est obligatoire. Pour réussir dans le service à la personne même comme femme de ménage, vous devez faire preuve de patience et de gentillesse durant l’assistance des clients. Mise à part la gentillesse, la rigueur et la résistance au stress sont des caractères à avoir absolument pour l’accomplissement de cette tâche difficile à laquelle vous serez exposé chaque jour.

Le respect, la discrétion et surtout l’empathie font aussi partie des qualités recherchées chez une aide à domicile. De plus, vous devez être capable de réagir face à n’importe quelle situation et prendre des décisions utiles pour votre client. Bien qu’il existe des qualités requises, votre polyvalence reste l’une des conditions essentielles pour devenir aide à domicile.

The post J’ai besoin d’être aidé à domicile : comment faire ? appeared first on

Kategorien: english

Got Brexit Done. What Now for International Development?

Simon Maxwell - 30. Januar 2020 - 11:11

Got Brexit Done. What Now for International Development?




This piece was co-authored with Mikaela Gavas, and was first published by the Centre for Global Development, here. It draws on evidence we gave to the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on development cooperation after Brexit. A video is here.



“Get Brexit Done” was the Conservative Party’s election-winning slogan last month. Formally, that objective has been achieved. But what does that mean for international development—for aid, humanitarian relief, trade, security, migration, climate change, and beyond?

New partners

The UK and the EU can turn their backs, walk away, and work with other partners. For the UK the potential dance card has many names: the World Bank, the UN, the regional development banks, the Commonwealth, even the WTO and NATO. But the EU should have a primary place. Both the UK and the EU separately are amongst the largest development spenders and influencers in the world. Both will be severely weakened if they are not able to benefit from each other’s ecosystem of development influence, expertise and resources.

The obstacles to closer cooperation are not trivial. In particular, the EU does not make it easy for third countries, as the UK will be, to participate in development programmes. In the case of humanitarian aid, for example, the current regulations specify that NGOs that wish to receive money from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) must sign Framework Partnership Agreements. This is a modality only open to those whose main headquarters are in an EU country. That rules out most smaller UK NGOs, and those not part of international alliances like Save the Children International or Oxfam International. Similarly, for development aid, UK institutions are able to access EU funding, but only for certain categories of countries. The EU does itself no favours by imposing restrictions of this kind. It should follow best practice as laid down by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, and “untie” all aid.

What are the UK’s other options?

There are other opportunities open to the UK after Brexit, but with further problems. Third countries can contribute to EU development finance instruments, such as EU Trust Funds (for example, the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which is active on tackling the root causes of migration), the European Fund for Sustainable Development (the EU’s external investment instrument offering blended finance and guarantees), or through processes such as delegated cooperation. However, all these entail management and coordination by the Commission, compliance with EU Regulations and contracting procedures, oversight by the European Parliament and/or the EU Court of Auditors, and are subject to the ultimate authority of the European Court of Justice. The UK might conceivably put a small amount of money on the table, but it is hard to imagine any British Minister signing up to substantial funding on these terms.

Better options are needed. That is because the EU and the UK have much more than a narrow, instrumental interest in avoiding stamping on each other’s feet. Both are large players in development, committed to the SDGs and to other global agreements, like the Paris agreement on climate change. Both have a variety of assets, including money, but also defence and diplomacy instruments. Both have a long history of work in development, supported by universities, research institutes, think tanks and NGOs. And they each bring elements of comparative geographical advantage, which complement each other: the EU in West Africa, the Sahel, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Western Balkans; the UK in Commonwealth countries. There is inevitable competition—for example, with respect to private sector opportunities in Africa. But competition in some areas does not preclude cooperation overall.

Global Britain needs the EU. By the same token, the EU needs Global Britain.

Two options for the future 

The first is foreseen in the Political Declaration which accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement: an ambitious and wide-ranging partnership. This can be done by agreeing on shared objectives and by committing significant resources of money and other resources. Implementation would be independent: UK contracting and accountability for UK contributions, EU contracting and accountability for EU contributions. This is the partnership of the tennis court or the bridge table: two organisms working as one.

The second option is a UK-specific and jointly-owned EU Trust Fund. The Commission could establish an off-budget, jointly funded, co-chaired, jointly administered and jointly decided EU/UK facility, focused on a set number of countries of strategic interest to the UK that are also supported by the EU development programme. This would allow the UK to have direct discretion and control over development spending, whilst indirectly shaping the broader EU development programme. From the EU’s perspective, it would keep the UK closely linked and increase its own firepower, without compromising existing structures.

Whichever option is chosen, the first step should be to focus on the priorities and to offer leadership. The SDGs provide an overall framing, but there are urgent needs within the frame. Peace, stability, and development in fragile states is a priority for both parties, in the Middle East, West Africa and the Sahel, but also in the Mediterranean and other hot spots (such as Somalia and Afghanistan). Climate change is another hot topic, particularly with the UK hosting the climate talks in Glasgow later this year, and with the EU having just agreed its Green Deal. Climate action is far from being an internal issue for either the UK or the EU. Emerging economies also need a just transition, and there are spill-overs across national borders: witness the EU’s urgent work on carbon border taxes.

Creating a new partnership requires bold action by both the EU and the UK. Big offers need to be made, with billions not millions on the table, and policy options to match. And time is short. The EU will soon begin to programme its resources under the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027. The UK will begin to re-allocate the £1.5 billion a year it spends through the EU (though current commitments mean that will be a slower process). Both sides are re-writing their migration policies. Both are committing to new research programmes. Both have an urgent interest in peace and reconstruction in Syria and elsewhere.

So, if Brexit is done and the question is “What’s next?,” the answer is, “Start talking and get to work.”


Mikaela Gavas is Co-Director of Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow at the Centre for Global Development, based in London


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