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West Africa agrees economic partnerships agreements with the EU


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After 10 years of tough negotiations, on 24th January 2014, West African and European Commission (EC) negotiators reached a major breakthrough on what now will be the first regional trade talks, the economic partnership agreement (EPA) since 2007.

“This is no small achievement. Given the disparity of situations among West African countries, some needing an EPA to preserve their preferential market access to the EU Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, while others were not dependent on it. Failure to reach a regional agreement with the EU would have strained, and potentially threatened to disrupt, the integration process of West Africa;” said San Bilal, Head of Economic Transformation and Trade Programme, and Isabelle Ramdoo, Deputy Head of Economic Governance, Trade & Regional Integration Programmes at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

“It is significant given the divergence of views between Europe and ECOWAS. By putting their differences in perspective and focusing on the ultimate goals, the parties have shown the necessary flexibility to reach a politically, as well as economically, important agreement.”

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Notes to editors:

ECDPM is a non-partisan foundation, which has followed the EPAs since their inception and provides regular updates and analysis on EPAs ( and

ECDPM has two reports on EPAs: Trade Talks Set to Disrupt Africa-Europe Relations and Poison the Upcoming Africa-EU Summit ( and What Would it Take to Make an EPA Economically and Politically Feasible for Europe and Africa? (

The EU-Africa Summit will take place in April 2014 – it will continue talks on the on-going EU-Africa partnership, which was set up in the Joint Africa EU Strategy in 2007. Read our blog:

Contact Emily Barker at or +32 474 1234 73 for more information.

Trade, investment and financeTrade Policy and Economic Partnership AgreementsEconomic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)European Union (EU)West Africa