Deadly convergence of views between the European Union and the African Union: African agriculture in the free trade cyclone

, by  Jacques Berthelot

Africa is caught between two neoliberal projects, between two forces: that of the European Union which is pushing for the signing of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the African Union that launched last June negotiations to create a large Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). EPAs would lead to a sharp drop in customs duties and VAT, favor agribusiness companies and slow down agricultural and industrial development. The CFTA project, inspired by the EU integration model, but applied to a set of very different and weakly organized countries, could lead to increased imports from other continents. Without sustainable economic integration among CFTA countries, there is a risk of marginalizing poorer households, businesses and regions.