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Point Deputy Editor off to Ghana

Sep 6, 2010, 4:38 PM | Article By: Picture: Baboucarr Senghore

At the invitation of the ECOWAS Commission, Baboucarr Senghore, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Point newspaper left Banjul early Saturday morning for Accra, Ghana.

He is taking part in a two-day sensitization workshop for journalists on the Economic Partnership Agreements between African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union.

The workshop is part of a series of stakeholder sensitization workshops organized by the commission on the ongoing negotiations by West Africa of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union that will define the economic relations between the two regions over the next 25 years.

The impending EPA, a reciprocal trade agreement, is expected to be World Trade Organization compliant, and will replace the previous non-reciprocal agreement between them.

The EPA, which are to give development goals a central role in trade relations, is now being negotiated in West Africa, and was to enter into force since 1 January 2008.

According to experts, this trade instrument aims to help West Africa become more competitive, diversify its exports and build a regional market with the uniform, transparent and stable rules needed to reinforce economic governance.

Experts believe that because of poverty and their small scale, West African economies can only develop if they cooperate to create an open, competitive economic area.

However, economists on the other hand believe that while the objectives are to foster the smooth and gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy, EPAs are an anti-development agreement, and are a direct violation of the social, economic and cultural rights of the people as enshrined in the UN Charter, for example, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They are of the opinion that EPAs are an unequal partnership that places rural livelihoods of African farmers, fisherfolks and pastoralists in direct competition with heavily subsidized European farmers.