Reflecting on Namibia’s Position in the European Union (EU)-Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) Negotiations and the Lessons for Africa
Negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) have been on the spotlight since 2002. The negotiations seek to replace the Lome Conventions which provided for a one way non-reciprocal trading regime between the EU and the ACP countries. The paper examines the position of Namibia in relation to EPAs and the lessons that Africa can derive from Namibia’s stance. Namibia which is negotiating under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has declined to sign the Interim Partnership Agreements, besides initialing them in 2007, arguing that EPAs are not consistent with the objective of advancing African economies into competitive outfits in the global economy. Some of the sticking issues that need to be addressed concern EU’s demand for trade liberalization and a near elimination of import duty on all EU products to ACP zone. The paper argues that the major lessons for Africa are that EPA negotiations are much a political activity in as much as they involve the advancement of collective national interest by the EU. The paper therefore implores African countries to safeguard both political and economic interest in the process in the same manner as their EU counterparts are doing. Again, the paper exhorts Africa to negotiate from a position of strength and refuse to give in to unfair trade terms given the evident competition that is looming between the West and the East to partner Africa in development matters.
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