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.