Events

EU Council conclusions on West Africa's EPA Development Programme. Brussels, 17 March 2014

Date:17 Mar 2014 Venue:Abidjan

The EU reaffirms the principles of the Council conclusions of 10 May 2010 concerning the EPA Development Programme (PAPED) and the importance of national and regional ownership.

pdfEU Council conclusions on West Africa’s EPA Development Programme. Brussels, 17 March 2014

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West Africa, European Union resume EPA negotiations in Dakar.

Date:22 Feb 2014 Venue:ECOWAS Commission

The negotiations were suspended in 2012 following divergences mainly over market access offer and the EPA Development Programme (EPADP), a dedicated funding programme to enable West Africa cope with the cost of adjustment to the impending trade regime.

Initially, West Africa had offered to open 60 per cent of its market over 25 years. It later revised this position to 70 per cent over the same period citing the protection of the region’s fragile industrial base from cheaper goods from the EU. On the other hand, the EU has maintained its original position of an 80 per cent market opening over 15 years.

West Africa, comprising the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, is also asking for 15billion Euros in new funds for the EPADP, while the EU insists that the programme should be funded from existing bilateral and multilateral contributions.

The resumption of the negotiations on Monday 20th January 2014 followed the directive by the ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Dakar last October calling for flexibility in the process. The summit also directed West Africa’s chief negotiators to “expeditiously resume the negotiations with their European Partners with a view to concluding a regional agreement as soon as possible.”

The regional leaders further directed the West African negotiators to ensure that adequate financing is provided for EPADP and fiscal adjustment costs to ensure a balance with the market access offer with free movement of persons and services also treated as priorities.

On the market access offer, West African leaders noted that this should take into account the required coherence with the regional Common External Tariff

(CET) which will become operational by January 2015 and the development objectives of the impending agreement.

 

The four-day Dakar meeting is being led by Directors of trade of ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Commissions, EU officials and representatives of ECOWAS ambassadors in Brussels.

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Ministerial Monitoring Committee meeting

Date:17 Feb 2014 Venue:Dakar

pdf Draft agenda and programme of MMC. 17 Feb 14

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West Africa – European Union Senior Officials’ meeting

Date:24 Jan 2014 Venue:Dakar

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West Africa – European Union Technical level negotiations

Date:20 Jan 2014 - 23 Jan 2014 Venue:Dakar

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Regional dialogue with Non State Actors of West Africa on EPA

Date:18 Jan 2014 Venue:Dakar

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.

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