Source: Adapted from Oxfam (2006: 10).
Second, and even more importantly, there is ample evidence of aid embezzlement in West Africa by ruling elites. Few of the negative effects of the EPA initiative listed in the previous section can be solved by an increase in aid disbursement from the EU.
To conclude this section: the reframing of opposition to the EPA as a question of aid disbursement obscured the real potential effects of the EPA or represented those effects in terms of a need for additional financial aid (which entices ruling elites). After 2009, the EU set a final deadline of October 1, 2014. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire disclosed their willingness to sign permanent FTAs with the EU, signaling an even greater threat to regional integration. After the final deadline of October 2014, averting regional disintegration was the rationale for the signing of EPAs by both Nigerian and ECOWAS officials.
On July 10, 2014 the 45th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of ECOWAS Heads of State in Accra officially approved the EPA, paving the way for the signing, ratification and implementation of the agreement. After the regional agreement had been signed, the Nigerian trade minister Olusegun Aganga renewed his criticism of the trade system, urging the Nigerian government not to rectify the agreement. At the time of writing, Nigeria continues to refuse to ratify the EPA, to the irritation of Ghana and other countries in the region (Babatunde and Alli 2016). The circumstances that led to the regional signing of the trade-system agreement have altered for the most populous West African country. After July 2014, the month in which the regional trade system was signed, the prices of crude oil fell precipitously (Krauss 2016). Proceeds from the sale of crude oil account for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s total export revenue and roughly 75 percent of its budgetary revenue (World Bank 2015). The new Nigerian government (which took charge in May 2015) has taken out loans to compensate for the shortfall. There is now a tacit agreement that the country, like all oil-dependent countries, must diversify its production and exportation away from crude oil. Nigeria’s government refused to ratify the trade system at the national level on the grounds that it was inimical to diversification, due to the reduction of policy space and options for diversification. Although the EPA has not yet been fully installed, the next section is an attempt to interpret its outcomes in two areas: market access and diversification. As we have seen, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire signed the trade-system agreement to preserve their trade advantages or market access in the EU. The next section will show that the market access these countries were bidding to preserve by signing EPAs is currently shrinking due to other developments in the EU, such as the signing of FTAs between EU and other regions in Asia; and that America is reducing the protection that the EPAs were signed to preserve. The next section will also show that the EPA prevents diversification in both theory and practice.
Download 1.4 Mb.
Share with your friends:
The database is protected by copyright ©ininet.org 2020