The formulation of the EPA Development Programme (EPADP), which is a specific initiative of West Africa (WA) seeks to provide a coherent reference framework to support the implementation of activities related to EPA development dimension. The EPADP also provides the European Union (EU), its member States and all development partners a common platform for the coordination of their assistance to the WA region within the framework of the EPA.
Whilst fully ascribing to the axes for the ECOWAS Community Development Programme, the EPADP is designed as an instrument contributing to the implementation of policies and strategies at the regional and sectoral levels, notably the ECOWAS Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy, the UEMOA Regional Economic Programme as well as sectoral policies and strategies relating to agriculture (ECOWAP), industry etc. Therefore permanent coherence is sought between EPADP and the regional strategies as well as the Aid for Trade at World Trade Organisation.
The EPADP is based on the vision of the region and has the overall goal of contributing to build a competitive regional economy that is harmoniously integrated into the global economy and stimulates growth and sustainable development. Specifically, the programme is aimed at supporting the West Africa region to draw full benefit from the opportunities offered by the EPA and reduce the negative effects of the agreement.
To reach those objectives, 28 components were identified that are grouped into the following five axes.
- 1: Diversification and increase of production capacities; Axis
- 2: Development of intra-regional trade and facilitation of access to the global market; Axis
- 3: Improvement and strengthening of trade-related national and regional infrastructures; Axis
- 4: Realization of indispensable adjustments and consideration of the other trade-related needs; Axis
- 5: EPA implementation and monitoring
This programme is in pursuance of a long-term vision in line with the implementation of the development objective expected from the EPA and shall be implemented in a sequence of five-year phases. The matrix of activities for 2015-2019 has been developed and is being discussed with the European party. This matrix focused on trade-related infrastructure (axis 3 of the EPADP), which constitutes one of the main weaknesses of the WA region.
The EPADP covers a large scope of thematic areas which needs to involve large implementation actors: regional organizations, specialized agencies, development institutions, states, non-state actors, implementing agencies. This requires that the institutional implementation and monitoring mechanism be operational at national and regional level. The success of the EPADP depends also on the ownership of the programme by all stakeholders, notably the States, WA regional integration organizations and donors. The principle for the implementation of the EPADP is that activities entrusted to the appropriate institution, most qualified and closest to the action and can achieve results.