AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE OBSTACLES FACED IN THE CONCLUSION OF ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS (EPAs) AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN STATES (ESA)
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Economic engagements between the European Union (EU) and some developing countries within the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region have been characterised by exploitative traits to the advantage of the former. This study argues that internal and external factors have severely hindered the conclusion of EPAs between ESA states and the EU. Internal issues of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) such as contentious issues, lack of funding and new emerging issues in the form of the Turkey clause have created an unfavorable negotiating atmosphere. External forces manifested in the form of the global financial crisis and the economic rise of non EU member states (China, Brazil and India) have shifted the priority options of both the EU and ACP states. To ACP states, EPAs appear to tighten the neo-colonial wave of the developed EU and also cause regional disintegration among the ACP region. With the use of documentary search and in-depth interviews with key informants, this study established that EPAs have cemented dependency of ACP states on the EU and have not resulted in sustainable economic development. It recommends the need for ACP states to be given enough policy space in the negotiations while new issues need to be shelved until the already contentious issues have been resolved. ACP states should also address internal political issues before committing to multiple economic fronts such as the EPAs.
Subjecteconomic partnership agreements (EPAs)
Eastern and Southern African States (ESA)