Kenya is hosting a market access conference that brings together ministers from the European Union, Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions. Talks between the two sides are focused on a potential economic partnership agreement that would boost trade between the ACP countries and the EU. CCTV’s Jack Barton reports how even though Europe is keen for the deal to go ahead, few believe it will be in place before the October deadline.
Africa and the European Union are struggling to finalize an economic partnership agreement that seeks to lower tariffs, simplify customs and boost trade across the Mediterranean. With Africa now the world’s fastest growing region in economic terms, Europe is keen to boost business. It relative terms business is already booming. The European Union is the largest trading partner and largest export market for almost every country in Africa.
Exports from Africa to Europe are growing faster than imports. Despite this many analysts doubt immediate progress will be made on the partnership agreement. Supports of the deal say East African nations in particular would benefit from foreign exchange earnings, employment opportunities and penetration to the European Union market with the deal.
However, there’s strong opposition from the rights groups and many African, Caribbean and Pacific nations over the alleged threat the deal could pose to local businesses and existing regional trade deals. The basic blueprint of a deal has been set out. Even if a deal is agreed on this week, which is considered very unlikely, an economic partnership agreement would have to be ratified by all the countries involved, a process likely to take many months.