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’Partnership Agreement Must Be Rooted in Devt’

Leadership, Abuja

’Partnership Agreement Must Be Rooted in Devt’

20 November 2008

Coalition of West African Regional Civil Society, made up of Trade World Network (TWN), based in Accra , Ghana, National Association of Nigerian Traders, Abuja, Labour Unions, farmers’ groups, etc, has stressed that the region’s development should be the sole purpose of the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Making this known recently through its ’contributions on the EPA negotiations process’, the coalition insists that regional development and integration should be taken into account in the agreement both in form and in substance, just as is the case with the special and differential treatment in the WTO texts.

According to the information gathered from the headquarters of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Abuja, the group affirmed that the heads of state in the region have given an explicit mandate to ensure that the agreement is rooted in the region’s vision of integration and development, recalling that the latest ministerial monitoring committee held in Nouakchott in February also re-affirmed such a political will.

For the civil society platform, the group stressed the ’development’ potential of the EPA, if it exists, can by no means be in the signing of a free trade agreement whose asymmetric character is widely doubtful, on the one hand, and the compilation of the EPA development programme (PAPED), consisting of a list of infrastructure projects attached to that agreement, on the other.