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Friday, 11 June 2010

Mixed reactions trail EU- ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement

The ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union(EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is still marred by suspicions and fears nursed especially by ECOWAS countries. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a free trade contract for the reciprocal opening of markets between countries in the European Union (EU) and those in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region, has covered another major milestone with the recent political commitment by the EU to provide support funds for West Africa’s aid for trade programme and economic integration (PAPED).
This makes available 6.5 billion Euros over the next five years. This development has however drawn both praise and ire from various quarters. Remarkably, euro-zone leaders announced this conclusion during a seminar organized on the margins of the EU Council of Development Ministers forum in Brussels in the early part of May; at a particularly dicey period in the region’s economic history, with the Union jostling to curtail rising financial panic, prevent its debt crisis from undermining the Euro and perhaps creating another global melt down. PAPED, or the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) a submission by leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is a donor plan expected to help improve the capacity of the region, provide immensely needed trade link infrastructure and mitigate challenges the changes the EPA will bring to the sub-region.