Extraversion and the West African EPA Development Programme: Realising the Development Dimension of ACP-EU Trade?
journal contributionposted on 18.02.2016, 09:54 by Mark C. E. Langan, S. Price
West African elites have successfully argued for an Economic Partnership Agreement Development Programme (EPADP) as part of free trade negotiations with the European Commission. ECOWAS officials state that the EPADP is necessary to realise the ‘development dimension’ of trade. In particular, they have (re)articulated Europe's own narratives relating to Aid for Trade and private sector development – insisting that the European Commission delivers on its promises. Accordingly, European negotiators have conceded the principle of the EPADP, stating that around €6·5 billion will be delivered. This article, however, examines the likely (in)capacity of the EPADP to meaningfully marry trade and development in the context of premature liberalisation under Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). Crucially, it argues that West African extraversion in terms of EPADP resources may entrench predatory elites while locking-in ECOWAS states into inequitable trade structures that re-embed poverty in the region.