Overview of the regional EPA negotiations: ESA-EU Economic Partnership Agreement
The purpose of this InBrief series is to provide a synthesis of the main elements and issues at stake for the 6 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) groupings negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Each InBrief offers an overview of the economic and regional integration dynamics influencing the structure, pace, and outcome of the EPA negotiation process for each region. It also focuses on the main issues and challenges to be tackled by each region in order to make the new trade arrangement a development oriented instrument. Each regional InBrief is complemented by an update on the ongoing EPA negotiation process.
Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) constitutes one of the continent’s largest economic groupings, facing common development challenges but also displaying a significant degree of heterogeneity. Eleven of the region’s sixteen members are least developed countries, and the majority are also highly indebted poor countries (HIPC), spending more than half of their export earnings to service their external debt. The region has a market size of nearly 300 million people, generating a GDP of US $80 billion per annum.