The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiated between the EU and regional blocs of African countries are meant to promote the gradual integration of African economies into global markets by supporting African businesses to increase their participation in regional and global value chains. EPAs could have beneficial indirect impacts on African producers and service providers by encouraging investment and facilitating support for interventions and initiatives that boost the capacity of African businesses to participate in regional and global trade. However, such support will not automatically materialize through the conclusion of EPAs alone. Currently, EPAs do not sufficiently alter the market access conditions for many African producers and services providers.
There is a need for development partners and other actors to complement EPA implementation with support for value chain development initiatives and awareness-raising and capacity building to ensure that African businesses can take advantage of EPA-related opportunities.
Hence, policymakers should: 1) support capacity building for African EPA state governments and national and regional public institutions to ensure effective EPA implementation, 2) support the establishment of mechanisms to monitor the impact of EPAs, particularly their impact on potentially vulnerable groups of African value chain actors, such as small and medium enterprises and smallholder farmers, 3) support efforts to promote value chain development, and 4) support awareness-raising and capacity building to ensure that African value chain actors are able to take advantage of trade-related opportunities provided under EPAs.