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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Updating EPAs to today’s global challenges

Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hard: first by the food crisis, more recently by the financial and economic crises, and at the same time grappling with the challenges of adapting to climate change. In this fast evolving context, African countries continue to negotiate the challenging EPAs with the European Union. However, the presence of negotiating deadlocks or a sense of fatigue as well as the lack of a real appetite for these agreements among many ACP negotiators, raise legitimate questions regarding their structure and content, as well as their ability to constitute instruments to leverage economic growth. In fact, just as the crisis has highlighted the vulnerability of African economies, it also provides an opportunity to reflect on the EPA’s function as a true development partnership. The state of play in the negotiations and the occurrence of the current global economic, financial, climatic and food crises create in fact an imperative to update the EPAs. In order to seize this window of opportunity for reflection, a new beginning for negotiations, based on trust and commitment, is crucial.

Source: The German Marshall Fund