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Arbeitspapiere zur EU-Entwicklungspolitik

Working papers on EU-Development Policy
Documents de travail sur la politique du développement de l’UE


Jérôme Boulle

An Overview of the EU-ACP-Cooperation
in the Indian Ocean

Original: French
Translation: Michael Forrest

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Arbeitspapiere zur EU-Entwicklungspolitik

The series „Working papers on EU-Development Policy" takes up topical problems in European development policy. It is intended to provide a forum for discussing political options for creating European development policy and the dialogue between North and South. Its objective is to contribute to a better understanding in pursuing a coordinated and coherent European development policy as agreed under the terms of the Maastricht treaty.

ISSN …1432-9824
ISBN …3-86077-602-9

The series appears at irregular intervals. It may be ordered free of charge from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, D-53170 Bonn/Germany.


Projektgruppe Entwicklungspolitik
Christiane Kesper

Copyright 1996 by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Godesberger Allee 149, 53175 Bonn

Layout: PAPYRUS – Schreib- und Büroservice
Printed in Germany 1996

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Jérôme Boulle
An Overview of the EU-ACP-Cooperation in the Indian Ocean

Despite the failure of economic development in some countries of the region (Madagascar and the Comoros), Lomé has been a unique tool for development whose impact has been significant though different in each of the countries. At the same time, Lomé is but one development measure supporting the countries of the region. All of these development programs face the challenge of supporting adaptation to an environment of increasing competition from the newly industrialised Asian economies. As far as Lomé's differentiated impact, it can be explained by a series of factors ranging from the historical context to strategic economic choices by each country.

While programmable aid has given the recipient countries a central roll in the way the aid will be used, it has suffered from too much emphasis on the short term and insufficient local administrative capabilities. Non-programmable aid, such as payments under STABEX, has been more successful.

An appropriate EU response to inadaquate development has to come at the regional level. Despite many development constraints, such as the diversity in levels of economic development and the lack of infrastructure, the EU has been and can be instrumental in fostering regional co-operation. The existence of institutions like the Indian Ocean Commission depends partly on EU support. As far as regional co-operation, southern Africa is a special case, requiring graded integration, because of the dominance of the South African economy.

New challenges in the future lie in the reshaping of the traditional partnership into a more global economic alliance where regionalisation, differentiation and decentralisation (opening-up to the regional private sector) will be key features of a renewed EU-Indian Ocean co-operation. This reformulation of EU co-operation should be based on the elaboration by the countries of the region of a common position on what needs to be preserved in the „acquis Lomé."

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This paper was prepared for the seminar on „The Future of Lomé" organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Brussels on the 10-11 June 1996 and for the Conference on the „Future EU-ACP Relations beyond Lomé IV" organised by the European Center for Development Policy Management in Maastricht on 12-14 June 1996.

We would like to thank the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in Maastricht for its support during the preparation of these studies and for its continuous and constructive co-operation on a wide range of development issues.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who helped move these studies through the publication process. The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without their dedication and effort.

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Table of Contents




































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Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific


Common Afro-Malagasy Organisation


Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa


European Currency Unit


European Development Fund


European Investment Bank


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


Generalised System of Preferences


Indian Ocean Commission


Most Favoured Nation


Regional Integrated Programme for Development of Trade


Preferential Trade Area


Regional Indicative Programme


Southern African Development Community


Southern African Development Co-ordination Committee


System for the Stabilisation of Export Earnings (under the Lomé Convention)


World Trade Organisation

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1. Introduction

Since this project was carried out within a very short period of time, it was not possible to collect detailed information on the Indian Ocean and southern African countries. The document will, therefore, not represent an in-depth study of relations between the European Union and the region; it will deal more with the principles underlying these relations. It should be stressed that the study has been carried out not from an expert’s position but from the position of a concerned observer and political practitioner.

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2. Brief summary of EU-ACP relations

The Lomé Convention has been described as the most extensive collective agreement on co-operation between the northern and southern countries. It has also been acclaimed as an exemplary method of co-operation based on the principles of solidarity, dialogue and respect for the political and economic choices of the contracting parties. Nevertheless, despite all these qualities, which are quite rightly attributed to it, the Lomé Convention has been subject to attack from different sectors in the course of its twenty years of existence. But before examining the Convention’s performance, we should take a look at some facts to put the matter in its correct context.

First of all, we should remember that the Convention is only one element among various factors affecting development in southern countries. Although European financing accounts for most of the development aid and has made a major contribution to the process of development in certain southern countries, it only amounts to 5.5 ECU per inhabitant. This fact is not stated to criticise the insufficient quantity but to stress how the Convention alone cannot guarantee improvement within a country. It would, therefore, be ill-advised to challenge it on the basis of certain countries which are still experiencing difficulties.

Even if application of various instruments of the Convention has enabled many southern countries to escape from an economic catastrophe, we should realise that development aid will never be able to compensate for the loss of earnings in southern countries due to the drop in commodity prices. All of the aid granted to the ACP countries over the last fifteen years has made up less than half of the losses incurred due to the collapse in commodity prices.

Finally, significant and decisive changes have come about in the world since the Lomé Convention was signed twenty years ago. In 1976 the geo-political and international trade framework was different than it is now. That era was a period of decolonisation and cold war; the newly independent ACP countries were politically and economically relevant to the European countries. Since then, the world has undergone major changes. On a political level, the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall have altered the relations between European countries and the southern hemisphere considerably. In the process of distributing available resources, eastern European neighbours receive more attention from donors. On an institutional level, the Treaty of Maastricht also has brought about changes in various sectors of European politics – including development aid.

The economic environment has also undergone great upheaval since Lomé I. Since the Uruguay Round and establishment of the WTO, we are experiencing the revision of various trade agreements. The provisions in the Lomé Convention dealing with trade aspects of EU-ACP co-operation have not escaped such considerations.

In this context, we must emphasise the emergence of the Asian countries, which in view of their extremely low production costs are competitors with the ACP countries for a share in the European market for industrial products. The situation is all the more serious for the ACP countries if we consider introduction of the GSP, reductions in brackets for the most favoured nations (MFN) and dismantling of the Multi-Fibre Agreement.

EU-ACP relations with the Indian Ocean and southern African countries will be examined against this backdrop.

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3. Relations between the EU and south-western Indian Ocean countries

Relations between Europe and the four countries in the Indian Ocean basin are rooted in the region’s history. Like the other ACP countries, the southern Indian Ocean countries, i.e. Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and the Seychelles, were once colonies of the European powers. Despite gaining independence in the 1960s, these countries were still supported at a distance by the former metropolitan countries. Structures for co-operation with Europe were subsequently implemented. We should remember that Madagascar was a member of the first group of African states to establish the CAMO (Common Afro-Malagasy Organisation), the forerunner of what was to become the Lomé Convention at a later date. Mauritius became a member shortly after.

This historical outline serves to stress how, despite their independence, the south-western Indian Ocean states initially remained attached to the former metropolitan countries. This is significant since it was precisely this method of managing this apparent contradiction that subsequently brought about different levels of development. On the one hand, there was the wish to obtain emancipation, yet, on the other hand, there was the need to retain privileged relations with Europe. This was not possible without causing distinct standpoints within the newly independent countries. In certain cases the consequence has been political instability which is extremely negative.

Of the four countries in the southern Indian Ocean, Mauritius has been the one able to govern its historical capital intelligently. This former British colony took advantage of the presence of a French culture in order to join CAMO and later to be among the signatories of the Lomé Convention. At the same time, in view of the potential of its people, it is seeking new horizons in India, Asia and Africa.

The other three neighbouring countries of Mauritius have not had a similar path since the historical conditions were not identical.

This reminder of the historical conditions and of the state of mind prevalent in the post-independence years may seem out of context in discussion of EU-ACP relations. However, we believe that it is important to recall this since it demonstrates identification of a country’s potential and its exploitation by political leaders.

The relevance of the Lomé Convention, or the lack thereof, in the process of development in a country depends on how it was perceived when the main parties in the political and economic sectors developed their respective strategies. The case of the countries in the south-western Indian Ocean is an interesting illustration of how the opportunity offered has been used in EU-ACP relations.

Mauritius has been able to integrate the opportunities offered by north-south co-operation with other development instruments to create synergy, the aim of which was to transform the country into a reliable trading partner. The Seychelles chose to use the Lomé instrument to improve social aspects, whereas Madagascar and Comoros, due to their distinct circumstances and the advantages of the Convention, have been limited somewhat to an ad hoc scope.

In the twenty years between Lomé I and Lomé IV, the Republic of Mauritius has received 100 million ECU within the scope of programmable aid from EU-ACP co-operation. However, Mauritius has above all taken advantage of the sugar protocol of which it is the major beneficiary. As a result of this protocol, Mauritius is able to dispose of almost all its sugar production at a higher price than the world market. On

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the other hand, tax-free admission of textile products from Mauritius to the European market without any reciprocal arrangement has facilitated up-turn in the manufacturing sector although it was only set up two decades ago. Nor can we ignore the contribution of the special envelope designed to improve the environment and the infrastructure. This has also indirectly helped tourism which is a source of foreign currency and employment. By granting various allowances, including risk capital, the EIB has enabled the private sector to become more established and, in certain cases, to even enter profitable, as-of-yet untapped, sectors.

In the Seychelles, the financial resources resulting from the Lomé Convention have been particularly channelled into social issues. In view of the limitations of the production sectors – tourism and fishing – the Seychelles authorities have rightly used available funds to improving living conditions. Under Lomé I and II, 6 million ECU were therefore allocated to the housing and health sectors. In the second stage, under Lomé III and IV, allowances from financial co-operation were used to develop fishing and tourism. Lomé IV has also enabled the Seychelles to obtain assistance from the EIB for its private sector. The scheduling of the European fund’s use by the Seychelles is also interesting from the perspective of programming.

In Madagascar and Comoros, EU-ACP relations have had more of an effect on making up for delayed development. In the last few decades, the economies of these two countries have seen the after-effects of political instability, the lack of administrative organisation and the fall in commodity prices. This has caused widespread poverty in the population and, at certain times, an almost total breakdown of the economic machinery.

It is significant that a major portion of funds from EU-ACP co-operation used in these two countries has come from STABEX, structural adjustment and emergency aid. Under Lomé IV, Madagascar received 70 million ECU for STABEX and 37 million ECU for food aid. The Republic of Comoros received 4.2 million ECU for STABEX and 6.6 million ECU for structural adjustment.

Nevertheless, within the scope of programmable aid in these two countries, funds have been channelled into rural development and into productive sectors, notably agriculture. Here, the aim is self-sufficiency. However, these resource allowances have had less positive relevance in view of the extent of economic ruin.

In 1982, the creation of the Indian Ocean Commission, a regional organisation comprising Mauritius, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and Reunion Island, gave these south-western Indian Ocean countries a regional co-operation structure. The European Union is the main, if not the only, financial backer of this regional organisation. The various projects concerning management of marine resources, sea transport and meteorology have all been financed from European funds. The impact of EU-ACP co-operation on the socio-economic structure of the countries in this region remains to be assessed.

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4. Development potential

Before carrying out such an assessment, the development potential in the region, and also the feelings existing there, have to be identified. The development opportunities which each country offers are of economic significance, when they are seen in their overall context. In the present situation, the potential of each of the countries in the south-western Indian Ocean basin cannot guarantee each of them lasting development.

In terms of strategy, only a synergy of the potential offered by each of the countries will permit economic up-turn to guarantee long-term development. This is why supranational steps are needed.

Taken together, the south-western Indian Ocean countries have potential in all production sectors, but seen individually none of them meet conditions to exploit their potential efficiently. Madagascar’s natural abundance is under-exploited as a result of its degraded infrastructure and its population’s lack of training. Comoros, the main producer of vanilla and ylang-ylang, suffers from the same syndrome. An additional problem is the small size of its territory. The Republic of Seychelles which has a well trained population and adequate infrastructures experiences difficulties due to its lack of arable land. Mauritius, which, according to some analysts, was able to overcome under-development, has reached a level where its high production costs are beginning to burden it in relation to its competitors.

Research on lasting development for the countries in the region thus depends on the ability to identify the advantages of each country and to use these to the advantage of all. In fact, it is more than evident that the Indian Ocean countries complement each other. It is thus necessary, for example, to imagine and implement a policy that would combine the wide areas of arable land and the inexpensive work force available in Madagascar with the know-how and dynamism of the private sector in Mauritius.

Fishing, sea-farming and agri-foodstuffs are other examples of sectors where the combined use of available potential could produce positive results for the countries in the region. Experience in Mauritius in the industrial sector could be used profitably within the context of regional co-operation. By carrying out their production in Madagascar, for example, Mauritian industrialists could take advantage of lower production costs. This would enable the region to regain an advantage in the competitive industrial sector. Moreover, it would be stating the obvious to stress the need for a tourist „package" comprising the countries in the region. The advantages of integration in creating tourism products are self-evident.

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5. Limitations to development

Nevertheless, we must realise that many limitations to development do exist. These have even become an obstacle to optimum use of the potential of the countries in the region. A quick analysis identifies a number of limitations in the political sector, in the economic realm and in the local mentalities.

Recent history shows that the post-independence period has not been very peaceful politically in the countries in this region. All have had periods of instability – some longer and more damaging. Even if the situation appears more peaceful today in view of democratisation, there is as of yet no certainty of lasting stability.

Promotion of the concept of the region as an economic entity has itself suffered from the lack of committed policies. Admittedly, the Indian Ocean Commission does meet regularly, but politicians are faced with internal problems in their own countries so that creation of an economically integrated region becomes a secondary preoccupation. Regional co-operation needs a political trigger mechanism to start it off.

On an economic level, we should recall the difficult situation that some countries face. Often those which are in a less desperate situation are impatient and conceive of their own development plan without examining the opportunities that their neighbours could offer.

This difference in economic inventory is a serious obstacle to integrating the countries in the region. Variations are evident in the infrastructures, in the training of the inhabitants and also in the dynamism of the private sectors.

Furthermore, the distance of the countries in the region from their traditional markets, both with regard to exports and imports of certain goods in production, is a major obstacle to the process of development. Although we are now noticing an improvement in the telecommunications sector, the situation is still very difficult in the fields of air cargo and sea transport.

As far as key social developments are concerned, these are of considerable importance in assessing limitations to development. Illiteracy, sanitary conditions and poverty are factors that slow down economic growth. Such social problems hold back not only resources but also the attention of political and economic decision-makers. In fact, this is the perpetual problem of the infernal cycle of poverty. Does this social reality constitute an impediment to development or is it the consequence thereof?

It is the responsibility of decision-makers and development agents to break this infernal cycle. This means that there is a need to combine aid with plans for long-term development and with precise aims.

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6. The impact of EU-ACP co-operation

To measure properly the impact of EU-ACP relations with the southern Indian Ocean countries, we should first examine the aims. From a regional standpoint, the aims were not well defined. Co-operation with the countries on an individual basis has been more positive in the sense that the available funds have been used to implement operations for the benefit of the population. EU-ACP co-operation is not limited to financing programmable aid alone. It also includes trade, investment, technical assistance and support for regional co-operation.

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7. Programmable aid

The allocation of funding in the countries of the region covered by this analysis followed a classical pattern during the period of the first three conventions. The recipients undertook programs to ensure adequate rural and agricultural development with the aim of reaching food self-sufficiency. This priority was shared by Madagascar, Mauritius and Comoros, although the Seychelles chose to concentrate more on the social sectors.

At first glance, the effect was positive in Mauritius and the Seychelles, whereas in Madagascar and Comoros the results appeared to be more moderate. Nevertheless, in successful cases and in those with less satisfactory results, co-operation has been dependent on other factors, such as the macro-economic environment and the socio-political climate. As we have seen, Mauritius was able to integrate European aid as a key element in a strategy aiming for synergy to boost the economy. In the Seychelles, the political system in force in the course of Lomé I and II considerably facilitated implementation of a programme centred on social aspects. Even if developments were not as encouraging in Madagascar and Comoros, we should not forget other unfavourable conditions, such as disasters and socio-political instability.

The effectiveness of co-operation by means of the EDF is due to it being a gift. Thus the recipients are not faced with any financial expenditure. Those countries that manage to integrate this into a well-considered strategy gain substantial advantages for their population.

Another advantage of EDF co-operation is that it gives the recipient country a central role in determining the way such aid will be used. The programming exercise provides a means of ensuring that allocation of Lomé resources is consistent with national development policies.

However, evaluation of aid granted within the context of EDF co-operation shows some weaknesses. Very often, programming by the recipient country means that resources are allocated to short-term projects without any major effect on the process of economic development. We should also learn from situations where administrative deficiencies in a country do not allow it to take part in defining and evaluating projects. In addition, national and co-operation objectives are frequently not achieved so that there are no tangible results.

As far as non-programmable aid is concerned, the results have been more convincing. Payments under STABEX have enabled Madagascar and Comoros to partly compensate for the loss of earnings caused by the drop in commodity prices.

With regard to investment, the EIB has played a major part in supporting the private sector. This type of procedure is very significant since it facilitates implementation of structures aimed at lasting development.

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8. Regional co-operation

The greatest value of EC-ACP co-operation in relation to the Indian Ocean region is that it has enabled the existence of the IOC. This organisation, which was created in 1982 and comprises the countries in the region, is financed entirely from European sources. The various regional projects in the RIP programme have raised more than 43.5 million ECU. These cover areas as diverse as the environment, handicrafts, tourism, meteorology, fishing, health, agriculture, training, sea transport, security and foreign trade.

It is interesting to note that the most recent projects show a clear movement towards truly regional action. The PRIDE programme (Regional Integrated Programme for Development of Trade) is one example, but there are also transport and tourism programmes.

Nevertheless, 14 years after its creation, the IOC has not been able to initiate economic integration. This is because of the complex functioning of the commission and the absence of political will for greater regional cohesion.

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9. Southern Africa

Before looking at the possible aspects of joint interest between the EU and the sub-region, let us take a brief look at the situation in southern Africa. It will not be possible to undertake a detailed study of co-operation between the EU and the countries in this region of the African continent for the reasons stated at the start.

Disregarding Botswana and Namibia, a very young nation, the other countries in southern Africa have had very unfavourable conditions for development in the past twenty years.

The turbulent internal political situation in the other six countries in the region and the aftermath of aggression during apartheid in South Africa have contributed considerably to deterioration in the economic environment. However, despite very adverse factors, the countries in southern Africa have chosen a path of regional co-operation for more than a decade.

The creation of SADCC (Southern African Development Co-ordination Committee) and the PTA (Preferential Trade Area) in 1980 and 1983, respectively, is proof of this regional will. Today the SADC (1992) and COMESA (1993) have taken over, and there is hope that significant regional economic integration will take place in the course of the next decade.

Regional economic integration, as we know, requires a process, which implies the development of autonomous economies in larger blocs. The process, which is centered on market integration, evolves from the simple preferential zone to the creation of an economic union, a very advanced stage of integration.

The success of regional co-operation, which, like integration, is becoming more pressing with globalisation, depends on a number of pre-requisites including:

  • the need for those countries involved in co-operation to have an equal level of development;

  • the existence of potential for additional development;

  • the existence of a tradition of trading between the countries concerned.

As far as the need for similar economic systems and political models is concerned, this issue has resolved itself since the end of ideologies and the advent of democratic movements throughout the world.

Does southern Africa meet such pre-requisites? Some experts consider the answer to be no. Even if this is the case, it is up to the political decision-makers and the economic partners, such as the EU, to act to modify the objective conditions in order to facilitate regional integration. This is one of the last hopes for economically underprivileged regions like southern Africa in a world that is becoming more and more competitive.

Southern Africa is made up of countries with unequal development, yet it has are dominant economy if we include South Africa.

Most countries in southern Africa have very open economies and are therefore vulnerable, given their increased dependency on foreign markets. Trade between the countries in this region does not account for more than 5% of the total volume of economic activity.

The basis of intervention of regional co-operation, on the one hand, should bring about more favourable conditions for intervention, and, on the other hand, take advantage of the potential offered by existing regional groups. Each step should integrate the potential offered by a customs union, monetary union, COMESA and SADC. However, in doing so it is important to

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be able to transform the disadvantages caused by the existence of a dominant partner, such as South Africa, into advantages.

The best approach would be to examine clearly the proposals by the Treaty of Abuja (1991) and to carry out a realistic evaluation of the capacity of each country in the region to play an active role in the process of economic integration, doubtless a very lengthy process. It will be necessary to build on the strength of certain institutions, seek out points of joint interest and, above all, adopt a graded integration pace enabling each country to participate according to its own capacities. Assessment of such capacities should take into account trade balance, trade flow, prices and the system of exchange controls.

South Africa has a key position in the overall issue of economic integration in southern Africa. Therefore, the methods of co-operation with the Republic of South Africa within the scope of the Lomé Convention should be analysed carefully for the good of the region.

Any discussion of integration in southern Africa inevitably brings up the issue of co-operation with countries in the sub-region, i.e. the south-western Indian Ocean.

Recently, Mauritius, for example, has taken certain initiatives to be party to wider regional groups.

The Republic of Mauritius joined SADC in 1995. It took part in the cross-border initiative and recently expressed the idea of a wide regional group with other countries to be called the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative. According to its designers this group would involve all countries around the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to Australia including India and the Gulf states. This is a commendable initiative, but one which will not be possible in the near future. But is not the main point of co-operation to make a start?

This initiative is mentioned to emphasise the extent to which the need for regional groups is present in the minds of decision-makers and researchers. This is imperative in a commercial environment, which, despite liberalisation in the post-GATT era, is still dominated by „tripolarism", i.e. the formation of trading blocs around the USA, Japan and Europe.

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10. Some examples of joint interests between the EU and the ACP

Against this background where the search for regional groups is always prevalent, what is the role of EU-ACP co-operation after Lomé IV? It is primarily to identify joint points of interest between the EU on the one hand and the ACP countries on the other.

Given the prominence of economics in inter-state relations, joint points of interest should be identified in the commercial sector. The European Union has already stated its preferences for co-operation, which concentrate more on the private sector.

Higher production costs in Europe have already caused a number of companies to relocate their operations and to set up in countries where factors of production are less expensive.

Relocation is one sector to consider. However, it goes without saying that if the private sector in Europe found advantageous conditions elsewhere than in the ACP countries, it would not hesitate to go elsewhere. This shows the need for ACP countries to implement all measures possible at this stage to provide the conditions necessary to promote establishment of production units with European capital. This means giving priority to training, the infrastructure and communications, which will automatically assume more importance in the development plans of the ACP countries. Both parties emerge as winners in this type of operation. Once the option has been adopted, it is up to the experts to define the advantages it offers in order to implement such an initiative. Within the context of this type of exercise, the fields of taxation, free movement of persons and goods will doubtless need to be reviewed.

We should also consider the possibility for European companies to use the ACP countries as a springboard to gain access to non-ACP markets, which have been inaccessible to date. In this perspective, the initiatives for regional groups and even the distant Indian Ocean Rim take on significance.

This scheme would be very similar to „recolonisation" – if the ACP countries are not prepared to act as partners. However, we should recall that countries with a dynamic private sector are already involved in this type of operation.

All in all, the sentiment governing the search for points of joint interest between Europe and the ACP in the future should go beyond simple partnership. It should be an alliance. Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean sub-region offer very good potential in this context if we agree that the conditions prevailing in some ACP countries have improved.

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11. Post-Lomé IV

In its half-term assessment, the European Commission indicated the option that it prefers. However, the EU is seeking another form of more effective partnership for post 2000. Regionalisation is a key element in this new approach, hence more sustained support for projects of a regional character. Would it not be wiser for ACP countries to prepare for this possibility at this stage by fighting to maintain what has been achieved by the Convention? Should they not also begin to resolve the internal problems in the regions and establish efficient bases for regional groups?

In view of the suggested strategies it is almost self-evident that at the end of the current Convention, we will move towards autonomous agreements with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The more pessimistic consider that it is possible to negotiate agreements with specific regions within these blocs. If this proves to be the case, the consequences will prove very serious for the ACP, which until now have always been able to negotiate as a single entity despite internal disagreements at certain times.

The other pillar of future EU-ACP co-operation will clearly be decentralised co-operation and the private sector’s involvement in operations. This step has been emphasised by European parties on more than one occasion in the past years. Certain ACP countries have already carried out the necessary adjustments in their policies to be in keeping with the future method of co-operation. It is apparent that the European Union will favour in the future a partnership with less state intervention and more participation by the private sector. This meets the requirements of efficiency and productivity.

The possible participation in co-operation by countries that did not sign the Lomé Convention, the end of preferential tariffs and the introduction of a principle of reciprocity in EU-ACP relations will change current co-operation figures completely. This will require rethinking to ensure that the experience from history is not challenged.

The future of EU-ACP co-operation after the year 2000 hardly seems dazzling in view of the positions at the half-term assessment. Possible reforms can be developed. However, the entire process must undergo political dialogue. ACP-EU discussion, and even intra-ACP discussion at the highest political level, has been too fragmented to date.

To date, the ACP also has been a group which has shown more solidarity in defending the interests of its members. Nevertheless, we sometimes feel that a certain political will, which is indispensable for any group of states, is lacking

In this context, the declaration of Mauritius in November this year within the 62nd Ministerial Session of ACP States is of significance. This meeting is of key importance for the ACP countries, and it should take place well before official negotiations for post Lomé IV begin.

We should remember that the signature of the first Lomé Convention was above all a political act. Once political dialogue has been established, the experts will themselves be able to suggest reforms needed within the defined scope in order to achieve the objectives defined by co-operation. It is imperative that preliminary action for political dialogue should begin now since the ACP countries must harmonise their position. Otherwise, the end of negotiations for post Lomé IV will come and the southern countries will not have developed the best pre-requisites.

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About the Author

Edouard Jerome Boulle is currently director of JM Logistik, a public relations and conference organising firm. From 1976 to 1995, he was a Member of the Mauritian National Assembly. He was Deputy Speaker of the Assembly from 1990 to 1994. In 1994 and 1995, he was Chairman of the Select Committee on „Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking" and Chairman of the Steering Committee for the „Planning Study of the Mauritius South-West Tourist Zone." In 1986, 1987 and 1992, he was Lord Mayor of Port-Louis. Mr. Boulle has been active in the ACP-EU Joint Assembly, including its working group on fisheries and the Assembly's delegation mission on human rights to Sudan, Erythrea and Ethiopia. From 1993 to 1996, he was editor of the newspaper, Le Militant.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | April 2002