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A service outlet for M-Pesa, the mobile-phone based money transfer and micro-financing service, in Gatina slum, Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 16 2012 (Sipa photo by Benedicte Desrus).

Why African States Are Refusing to Sign On to EU Trade Deals

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

Prolonged and contentious trade negotiations between the European Union and different regions of Africa have been put back into the spotlight in recent months. Despite negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements, or EPAs, with the EU, several key African states have failed to sign them. Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU last June has added an extra dimension of uncertainty to the situation.

This threatens to derail years of trade talks between Europe and Africa, which changed significantly with the signing of the Cotonou Agreement in 2000 between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, or ACP countries. Before that deal, African states had enjoyed unilateral trade preferences with the EU. Cotonou reflected a significant rethinking of this trade and aid dynamic. A World Trade Organization waiver that was secured until the end of 2007 enabled the EU and ACP countries time to negotiate a new WTO-compatible trade relationship governed by a series of interregional EPAs. ...

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