chapter  5
26 Pages

The European Development Fund in Africa

In EU geography, Sub-Saharan Africa is linked with certain Caribbean and Pacific states to form the ‘ACP’ group. These disparate regions are grouped together based on colonial heritage and a common peripheral status in the international system (Kahler 1982). As outlined in chapter 2, Sub-Saharan Africa (henceforth referred to as Africa for simplicities sake) was the setting for the first EU external aid policy, the European Development Fund, in 1958. Notwithstanding the many changes since then, the EDF remains only half-Europeanized as it is funded by member states outside of the EU budget. More importantly, Africa remains the location of most of the poorest and underdeveloped states in the world. EU aid policy here differs from that of the regions previously discussed in that a more explicitly developmental instrument and more tightly linked with the international development community, for whom Africa is the primary focus. Yet here also the EU is pushing for deeper economic and institutional integration, in a manner not fundamentally different from its policies in other areas. The actual importance of Africa to Europe has ebbed and flowed through the years, but it has always been an area of influence which it has intended to maintain. Marginalized in the 1990s, Africa has risen in importance – for better or worse – since the turn of the century (Michel 2006). In this context EU aid policy is understood as an effort to support western dominated global governance (in contrast to rising powers such as China) as much as specific EU interests. This has led it on a divergent path from European civil society, and the wider European public, which is concerned with an ethicsbased development effort. Ghana is chosen as the case study country, although there are more obvious examples to demonstrate the linkages between EU aid and structural power. South Africa in particular is a locus of economic and geopolitical power. The EU has an extensive aid policy there and a vigorously pursued free trade agenda. In many ways this is quite similar to the cases discussed in the previous chapters. Yet this is a different budget line to the EDF, which as the largest single aid instrument deserves to be covered. Nigeria is a state of major geoeconomic and geopolitical importance and the EDF supports an extensive governance reform programme. Yet it would not be a typical example of the EDF, most of which goes to states lacking obvious strategic importance. Ghana is more representative of the nature of the EU development project in Sub-Saharan Africa.