The Africa-EU workshop on resources for the Joint Africa-EU strategy and first Action plan, opened on Monday 5 October 2009 in Addis Ababa and lasted for 2 days until the 7th of October 2009. Over 300 participants from Europe and Africa gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss the question of human and financial resources in the JAES and to find possible solutions for the future.
The workshop started with a plenary session co-chaired by the EU/AU Presidencies and the two Commissions. The plenary session provided guidance on how to conduct the thematic meetings and what is expected from these meetings.
Following the plenary session the Joint experts groups (JEGs) from the eight thematic partnerships had a break-out discussions. The objective was to identify the gaps hampering the implementation of the partnerships (funding, general resources, governing of the JEGs…). The discussions of the next days was based on the implementation roadmaps developed by the Joint Experts Group.
On both side the discussion of the financing and resources of the JAES was franc, open and intensive and opened new windows for cooperation and dialogue. Quickly both parties have recognized that the JAES process is not exclusively hampered by the lack of financing resources. In fact, other important factors, such us human capacity, the mandate of the JEGs and the roadmaps have hindered a proper implementation of the first Action Plan.
In terms of financing, both sides have underlined their commitment. The JAES is a joint process, so both parties have to commit financially. However, many actors have claimed that financing depends on the partnership: Some partnerships seem to be more about dialogue and finding a common position, so financing is needed for participation while other partnerships are more about projects and thus ‘the right channels’ have to be found from the existing financing instruments to finance these projects. African actors have highlighted that the main problem with the financing is its accessibility as there seem to be numerous financing instruments available, but the little expertise how to access them hinders the African part to properly participate.
In addition, the Joint Expert Groups seem not to be the right channel to apply for financing. But who should do that? Some African actors have said that this is a joint process so the application for financing should be also a joint exercise and not only left to the African side. Other have question the mandate of the JEGs. All parties have agreed that they are too political, less technical with little expertise on the subject matter of the partnership. This has to change to guarantee success.
Moreover, the parties agreed that the roadmaps are too broad in their scope. This is a continent- to -continent partnership and should therefore reflect a more continental cooperation. One stakeholder suggested that the roadmap should be diminished to 1-3 continental projects for each of the partnerships that have an added value. This approach facilitates access to financing, reduces transactions costs and improves dialogue on content.