Why Economic Partnership Agreements Undermine Africa's Regional Integration
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are legally binding bilateral contracts between the European Union and individual African countries. Once signed, EPAs warrant that within a decade, about 80% of that country’s market should open to European goods and services.
To their credit and through commendable negotiation dexterity, negotiators from various African countries have managed to exclude a number of subsidized agricultural products and sensitive industries from the negative elements of EPA stipulated market liberalization.
But this is as much a pyrrhic victory as any, since prematurely opening markets translates into African agricultural and non-agricultural production finding it very difficult to compete with the most likely cheaper, perhaps better quality and even larger supply of goods and services from European countries.
About the Authors
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more