Overview of the regional EPA negotiations: West Africa-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.
The 16 West African countries, inhabited by 242 million people, with almost 130 million in Nigeria alone, form a politically and economically diverse group. Politically, situations vary from open conflict and instability verging on civil war to consolidated democracies. Economically, alarming socio-economic indicators reflect the region’s acute poverty. West Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita amounted to just US $326 in 2004.