Africa is Europe’s closest neighbour. The ties that bind Africa and the European Union (EU) are broad and deep as a result of history, proximity and shared interests.


With the 6th Summit between the African Union (AU) and the EU and the conclusion of the negotiations of the new partnership agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, 2020 will be a pivotal year in living up to our ambition of an even stronger partnership. In Africa, new prospects and challenges are emerging from economic, political, social, technological, demographic, climate and environmental changes. We need to partner with Africa, our twin continent, to tackle together the challenges of the 21st century and to further our common interests and future. 


The health of Uganda’s wetlands impacts everything from the livelihoods of surrounding communities to rates of gender-based violence. The proper management of this unique ecosystem can help address root causes of conflict while empowering women at the same time.

Covering 11 per cent of the country, Uganda’s wetlands represent important centres of biodiversity and sources of livelihood for many communities.  For over a decade now, the unique ecosystem has enjoyed relative stability, but this hasn’t always been the case.

Despite a strong legal framework, short-term interests have often won out due to weak enforcement and lack of institutional coordination.


Energy portfolios better explain the complex reality of rural households’ energy choices and help identify previously overlooked opportunities to address their needs

Despite economic growth in recent times, energy poverty remains a critical problem for the rural poor in India. In 2016, 20% of Indians (244 million people) lacked access to electricity, and nearly 70% (819 million people) cooked using solid biomass fuels. The regular use of traditional and inefficient energy sources adversely affects the health of users and their families, their economic development, and the environment.


Thomas Koutsky of USAID explains that the increasing differences between the quality of network connections will have a “profound impact on the services that are available to low-income people.”  He asks the really tough questions: Has the developing world caught up with digital technology just in time for the game to change with advances in 4G and 5G technology in the western world?


If automation puts people in developing countries out of work, is that development? Koutsky argues that we are on the edge of “transformative” digital development to lift people of poverty, but that apps alone won’t save us. The work will still require hard, on the ground, traditional human capital development to capture the opportunities that mobile technology can provide to low-income populations. 


By Marjolaine Chaintreau and Amina Razvi

Like millions of women working in garment factories in Asia, Lucky worried about receiving her monthly salary in cash. “I was concerned about walking out of the factory with that much money in my bag,” she said. “I also share my house with other people, so I didn’t know where to keep my money safe.” Recently, Lucky started receiving her salary on her mobile phone through BSR HERfinance Digital Wage program in Bangladesh. She can now use her mobile money account to buy items at the bazaar.

Recent data from the Higg Index from nearly 3,000 factories across 58 countries, representing 85 brands and retailer supply chains, reveals that paying workers digitally correlates positively with better working conditions. The Higg Index is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers and facilities of all sizes to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance.

Across the globe, factories that pay workers digitally are five times more likely to follow exemplary social and labor practices than those that pay with cash or checks. This includes offering wages that are equitable to the cost of living or providing bonuses when the company has a profitable year.