ESIC Digital Economy and Innovation Journal


Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the EU and Western Africa:

What chances for fair relations? Senegal case study


In the context of Cotonou and Post Cotonou Partnership Agreements stablished between the European Union and former colonies named by the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), this paper investigates the possible risks over ACP of one of the Agreement main objectives: the Free Trade Areas or EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements).With this purpose, the paper uses as a case study the analisis of Western African, focusing on the particular context of Senegal.

The selected region presents some of the paradox that are communly seen in ACP countries: an outstanding wealth in natural resources, together with some of the lowest indicators of Human Development in the world. Thus, despite the region hosts up to 267 international companies exploiting the mining sector (International Transparency, 2013) and one of the world richest maritime areas, basic needs for its population are still a challenge.
To adress such complex matter as an International Trade Agreement launched by the European Union with a wide block of countries of ACPs the paper presents a survey including both primary and secondary data collection in a mixted methodology which combines quantitative and qualitative data. In-depth interviews were carried out at two Directorates of the European Commission to responsibles for external relations with West Africa. In Senegal, officials of public institutions and civil society representatives were consulted.

The research concludes that the EU policies promoted with ACP countries in EPAs framework show serious contradictions with the social, environmental and economic priorities of the mostly classified as Least Developed Countries in Western Africa region. Thus, for Senegal case, the policies would increase the risk of increasing dependency on food imports and food insecurity.


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