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 Video guest: Erich Schaitza



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Saturday, 25 June 2016

The European Union’s economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations with its African partners have deteriorated into a long and drawn-out battle. Frustrated by the slow pace of progress in its negotiations with certain countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP group), which have advanced little in ten years, the European Commission plans to end the preferential access of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland to European markets by October 2016.

EU vessels to catch shrimp, tuna and other fish in return for funds, but critics say there is little evidence that EU cash is helping Mauritanian fishing communities. The EU has renewed a four-year fishing agreement with Mauritania that will allow more than 100 EU vessels into Mauritania’s waters in return for funding that will support local fishing communities.

SADC-EPA members have ensured the safeguard of the agricultural sector ahead of the implementation of the EPA with the EU, allaying fears that a deluge of products from advanced EU industries could crowd out infant industries in the region. Southern African Development Community (SADC) and European Union (EU) signed the operationalisation of phase one of the two parties’ Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in Kasane town in north-eastern Botswana on June 10.

In an interview with a selected group of journalists on the side of a two-day Regional Technical Workshop on Improved and Facilitated Trade in West Africa, Obideyi explained that three countries were yet to sign the agreements, hence the delay in implementation. “The Federal Republic of Nigeria and The Gambia have still not signed. Mauritania, although not a West African country, was also added to the West African bloc during the negotiations and has also not signed to it yet,” the commissioner disclosed. According to him, the three countries cited the lack of clarity in the agreement concerning West Africa’s industrialization, which the sub-region has not addressed, as the reason for their delay in signing it.

This development-oriented agreement between the European Union and Southern African countries is the first of its kind with an African region, pursuing regional economic integration. The European Union and six countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), in Kasane, Botswana. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland – the so-called SADC EPA group – is a development-oriented free trade agreement.