On the EPADP for which West Africa had asked for an initial 16 billion Euros to enable it address its infrastructure deficit ahead of the agreement, both parties agreed on the priority needs valued at 6.5 billion Euros in three tranches of five years each and centred on trade, industry, agriculture, infrastructure, energy and capacity building.
The negotiations were suspended in 2012 following divergences mainly over market access offer and the EPA Development Programme (EPADP).
Both sides are also at odds over the EPADP
under which the region is asking for 16 billion Euros in new funds to cope with the cost of adjustment to the impending trade regime, with the EU insisting that the programme be funded from existing bilateral and multilateral contributions.
However, that has since been adjusted to 70-per cent market offer, even though over same the transition period, as a gesture of flexibility in the negotiations, which have been stalled mainly due to disagreements over the size of the West African market to be open to the EU and the timetable for dismantling the existing tariff, the EPA Development Programme (EPADP) funding to enable the region cope with the cost of adjustment to the EPA, the non-execution clause and the most favoured nation status.
While West Africa is requesting for the injection of US$9 billion in fresh funds into the EPADP, the EU is offering US$6 billion in funds already committed under the European Development Fund (EDF) as well as existing bilateral and other sources.
According to the ECOWAS Commission, the three-day meeting is coming nearly a year after the ten-year long negotiations were suspended over some contentious issues, including market size and duration of market access, as well as the EPA Development Programme (EPADP
) to enable West Africa cope with the cost of adjusting to the impending trade regime.