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EU and South Africa set out priorities for development cooperation

On 21 April 1999, the European Union (EU) Committee on Cooperation and Development adopted a draft report on the European Commission (EC) legislative proposal specifying the objectives and priorities for EU development cooperation with South Africa. The report identifies the ...

On 21 April 1999, the European Union (EU) Committee on Cooperation and Development adopted a draft report on the European Commission (EC) legislative proposal specifying the objectives and priorities for EU development cooperation with South Africa. The report identifies the following priorities: - The improvement of living conditions and basic social services; - Support for democratization; - Protection of human rights. Amendments to the report suggest that the EU assist the integration of the South African economy with the global market, the creation of employment and the development of the private sector. The Commission will regularly evaluate operations financed by the EU to see whether they have achieved their objectives. These evaluations will be used to establish guidelines for the effectiveness of future operations. In the light of this agreement, the EC recently published an overview of the EU's relationship with South Africa, including its history. It includes an explanation of the background to recent cooperation agreements, and, in particular, the two main pillars of EU support for South Africa, the Lomé Convention and the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). The Lomé Convention is a cooperation agreement between the European Union and the ACP group of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The TDCA is a bilateral agreement covering all subjects not dealt with in the context of South Africa's membership of the Lomé convention. Cooperation in the field of science and technology is covered by a separate agreement - signed between the EU and South Africa in December 1996. However, the TDCA covers other areas of cooperation that have particular relevance to research and development. These include, for example: - Cooperation in the field of competition policy and public aid; - Securing the protection of intellectual property rights; - Promotion of standardization and conformity assessment; - Cooperation in the field of statistics; - Cooperation in the field of transport, including international maritime transport; - Trade promotion (in particular in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Some of the reasons why the agreement is seen as beneficial to South Africa are: - It forges a more strategic, long-term relationship with the EU; - It reinforces trade links with South Africa's most important trading partner (the EU) and secures a long-term advantage, particularly for industrial products which form the basis of future South African growth; - It further reinforces EU and South African economic and technological links; - It will foster economic growth and political stability in South Africa and the region; - It provides for open-ended assistance to development cooperation, allowing for a greater degree of involvement of the South African authorities in the implementation of aid , allowing the programme to be more adapted to South African needs and procedures. There are also a ways in which the EU will benefit from the agreement - including: - It will secure the EU's predominant political, trade and investment position in South Africa; - It provides a working example of the EU's efforts to provide stability in emerging markets; - It will provide positive stimulus to the ACP/EU post-2000 negotiating process; - It will help EU exporters who will eventually benefit from substantial South African tariff reductions.

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South Africa