Regional dialogue with Non State Actors of West Africa on EPA

Following the decision of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on October 25, 2013 in Dakar, asking West African negotiators to resume negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for the conclusion of a development-oriented agreement, the ECOWAS and WAEMU Commissions met in Dakar on 17 and 18 January 2014 with non-state actors in West Africa as part of a dialogue and consultation workshop about the EPA negotiation process and the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).

The meeting was attended by Members of the Commission, Hamid Ahmed, in charge of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Marc Atouga in charge of agriculture, and Ibrahim Bocar BA in charge of macroeconomic policies at the ECOWAS Commission on the one hand, and Mr. Christopher Joseph Marie DABIRE in charge of Trade at the WAEMU Commission, on the other hand.

For non-state actors, participants included members of the Network of Farmers’ Organizations (ROPPA), the Platform of civil society in West Africa on the Cotonou Agreement (POSCAO) of which the secretariat is provided by Enda CACID, representatives of private sector organizations, of research institutions and centres, and the media among others.

The discussions focused on the following issues: (i) The text of the Economic Partnership Agreement, particularly the sections that were still subject to divergences; (ii) The market access offer; (iii) The EPA development program; (iv) the rules of origin; (v) the Common External Tariff (CET); (vi) the proposed regional trade policy; (vii) The role and contribution of civil society in the construction of regional integration.