Towards a Development-Oriented Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union

  • CN Nwoke

Abstract

The Economic Partnership Agreements are far apart from the original developmentfocused agreements aimed at strengthening regional integration as envisaged by the ACP countries and the EU in the context of the Cotonou Agreement. This paper aims to articulate strategies that should guide West Africa’s development-focused EPA negotiations and to highlight Nigeria’s role as a key player in the region. Noting that the current global economic crisis will further increase ECOWAS countries’ vulnerability in an anti-development EPA regime, this paper underlines the Eu’s neglect of the development dimensions and the negative impact on the regional integration process resulting from the Agreement. Furthermore, this paper discusses key issues in the EPA negotations, and analyses the critical implications of the EU-mandate that ECOWAS countries need to be conscious of. Finally, the paper suggests negotiating strategies for ensuring that the ECOWAS integration process is strengthened and that Nigeria (and West Africa) would get development benefits from the EPA. The conculsion is that ECOWAS must aim for an innovative EPA, which ties reciprocity to the achievement of basic development thresholds in member countries, and that individual cou ntries’ supplyresponsecapacities need to be developed ahead of the Agreements.
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