West African and European Commission negotiators have signed the West Africa - EU Economic Partnership Agreement in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The Agreement covers all 16 ACP countries of the West African region as well as their regional organizations ECOWAS and UEMOA. It seeks to establish a long-term sustainable partnership based among other things on the ECOWAS Common External Tariff and the EPA Development Program, to quote only the most visible pillars.
The initialing of this EPA on June 30th will ensure a continuation of full preferential market access for bananas from Ghana and Cȏte D’Ivoire, the vast majority of which are exported to the EU.
However, according to Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana TUC:
“The ECOWAS-EU EPA is threatening to undermine development in the West African sub-region as it threatens to take away from countries much needed policy space. The challenges of regional integration and supply side constraints can be addressed effectively if countries creatively apply appropriate policy tools to leverage competition, investments and procurement but the EPA is threatening to deprive the ECOWAS countries the policy space to deploy such development tools.”