EPA will cost ECOWAS dearly - Yao Graham

Author: Kweku Zurek
Dr Yao Graham
Dr Yao Graham

The Executive Director of the Third World Network, Dr Yao Graham, says the European Union's Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will not be beneficial to ECOWAS states because they stand to lose more in international trade taxes as compared to the promise of €6.5billion in aid.

The EPA will grant the 16 West African countries who are expected to sign the pact, €6.5 million in aid for the next five years. 

The sum is intended to be used for trade adjustment by the countries and beneficiaries are each projected to receive about GH¢320,000,000 per year.

However, Dr Graham insists the promise of aid is insignificant compared to the international trade taxes they will have to forgo.

"The EU is good at recycling old aid as new aid as seen in the climate change debate," Dr Graham said at the Graphic Business/STANBIC Bank Breakfast meeting in Accra on Tuesday morning. .

"The aid they are offering under the EPA pales into insignificance compared to the international trade taxes that countries will have to forgo under the EPA."

The EPA enjoins member states to open up 80 percent of their markets to European goods over a period of 20 years.

ECOWAS countries will in turn receive 100 percent access to the European markets except for rice and sugar. All countries have till October 1, 2016 to sign the EPA.

At the moment, 13 of the 16 ECOWAS countries have signed the EPA with the exception of Nigeria, the Gambia and Mauritania.

Ghana has indicated its readiness to lobby Nigeria, the Gambia and Mauritania to sign the pact.