Analyses eu-ecowas historical relation


EU-ECOWAS relations didn't begin till 1975 as a result of the truth that ECOWAS solely got here into existence on Could 28th 1975 with the signing of Treaty of Lagos by its member states (ECOWAS, 2010). Nonetheless, previous to ECOWAS’ formation in 1975, a few of its member states, significantly the Francophone nations similar to Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo had been basis members of Related African states and Madagascar (EAMA). This group of nations had been actively concerned within the ‘regime of affiliation’ as enshrined within the Treaty of Rome (1957) which organized a relationship between the previous French and Belgian colonies with the EC (ACP, 2010). The early relationship with these ex-colonies grew to become a key side of the method of European integration and in addition established the premise and rationale for subsequent preparations (Reisen, 2007; Holland, 2002).

The Commonwealth nations throughout the ECOWAS grouping similar to Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone didn't take part in EC cooperation programme till the UK accession to the EC in 1973. With reference to ex-colonies’ actions in EC cooperation programme previous to 1973, it had been a case of domination of improvement agenda by France (Holland, 2002). So, the inclusion of the ECOWAS Commonwealth nations was necessitated as a result of the UK was eager to place its particular buying and selling preferences for bananas and sugar below the EC umbrella and to increase its help to some former colonies past bilateral assist (European Fee, 2010a).

Since ECOWAS’ institution in 1975, EU-ECOWAS relations have been framed by the commerce coverage understandings in addition to different improvement cooperation preparations as contained within the partnership agreements that the EU has entered into with creating nations in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACPs) nations (World Financial institution, 2007; Oyejide and Njinken, 2002). The ACPs at the moment includes 79 nations (48 African, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific). The EU’s relations with the ACPs are right this moment ruled by the ACP-EU Partnership Settlement signed in Cotonou, Benin in June 2000 which got here into power in 2003 (ACP-EEC, 2005). Nonetheless, it has since been revised and the revised Settlement entered into power in July 2008. In a way, each ECOWAS and ACPs are intently linked however the paper focuses on EU-ECOWAS relations with a view to unravelling its specificity in historic views.


ECOWAS is a regional group of fifteen West African nations, based on Could 28, 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos. ECOWAS is without doubt one of the pillars of the African Financial Neighborhood and its mission is to advertise financial cooperation and integration. The general goal of ECOWAS is to advertise co-operation and integration with a view to create an financial and financial union for encouraging financial development and improvement in West Africa (ECOWAS, 2010a). The grouping comprises a really vast variety of economies by way of measurement, improvement and sources (EBID, 2005).

There have been 16 nations within the group till very not too long ago when Mauritania voluntarily withdrew its membership from ECOWAS. The nations embody the 7 UEMOA nations of Benin, Burkina-Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. Different non-UEMOA member nations are Cape-Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The UEMOA is the French acronym of West African Financial and Financial Union. It is a corporation of eight states of West Africa established in 1994 to advertise financial integration amongst nations that share a typical forex, the CFA franc.

By way of achievements, UEMOA member nations are working towards better regional integration with unified exterior tariffs than ECOWAS. It's each a customs and financial union and has initiated regional structural and sectoral insurance policies which ECOWAS is adopting. Inside ECOWAS additionally, there's a West African Financial Zone (WAMZ) which includes a bunch of 5 nations (primarily English talking) that plan to introduce a typical forex, the Eco by the yr 2015. The WAMZ was shaped in 2000 to try to set up a powerful steady forex to rival the CFA franc. Although, the specified purpose is for the CFA franc and Eco to merge, with a view to giving all of West Africa nations a single steady forex (ECOWAS, 2010b).


ECOWAS shares a resemblance with the EU in its goal and modes of cooperation for regional integration amongst member states. Although, their historical past of firm differs. In contrast to the ECOWAS mannequin, through which all nations got here collectively without delay (besides Cape Verde which joined in 1976) to kind an financial association, solely six nations initiated the present EU association, whereas different European nations joined at completely different factors by its enlargement and accession technique (Alaba, 2006). It has typically been argued that integration within the West African sub-region has largely been knowledgeable by the mixing processes in Western Europe, primarily due to EU’s ‘dedication’ to regional integration (Smith, 2008; Ogbeidi, 2010).

Some extent of departure between the 2 groupings nonetheless, lies of their performances over time. Whereas their performances might be a mirrored image of the extent of improvement of the member states that constitutes the membership of the sub-regional unions, crucial single issue is their stage of dedication in the direction of reaching their objectives. In contrast to the EU association, dedication to numerous protocol meant to facilitate the achievement of the imaginative and prescient of ECOWAS has been very low and implementation targets have by no means been met. For instance commerce liberalisation throughout the ECOWAS area has been usually low and ineffective (UNCTAD, 2009). The identical compliance failure applies to an ECOWAS protocol on free actions of individuals, the precise of residence and institution which was agreed so far as again 1979 (World Financial institution, 2007).


For just about all ECOWAS nations, the EU is the principle buying and selling companion (Eurostat, 2008). This excessive dependence of the nations on the EU market is essentially as a result of their historic hyperlinks and the character of their commerce patterns which has typically made them commerce dependent (Fontagne, 2008; Greenidge, 1998). The financial construction of the West African sub-region is essentially dominated by agriculture which is intently adopted by mining. Agriculture contributed about 25.17%, to sub-regional GDP as at 2006, up from 24.19% in 1995, whereas mining accounted for 22.13% barely greater than 21.45 in 1995. Commerce contributed about 14.64% of the Group’s GDP, down from 15.39% in 1995 (Ecostat, 2010). Many of the ECOWAS nations are usually extremely specialised in a couple of key merchandise similar to petroleum and some unprocessed agricultural commodities similar to espresso and cotton.

ECOWAS is the most important buying and selling companion of all of the EU’s sub regional groupings/cooperation. It accounts for about 40% of whole commerce with the EU by areas (Eurostat, 2008). Out of the fifteen ECOWAS nations, 13 of those nations are ranked as Least Developed International locations (LDCs) whereas three are non-LDC (HDR, 2009). The non-LDC nations within the area are Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. These three non-LDC nations and Senegal to some extent account for the majority of commerce relations with the EU. In 2008 EU’s rankings of African nations by way of worth of products traded, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire ranked the 4th and 10th for all EU imports whereas Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana have been ranked fifth, ninth and 10th respectively for all EU’s exports (Eurostat, 2009). West Africa’s principal exports are oil from Nigeria (50% of West African exports) and agricultural tropical merchandise (cocoa, bananas, pineapples, wooden) largely from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana (European Fee, 2009) whereas Senegal is famous for groundnut (Bergtold et al, 2005). For practically all of the nations the main import objects are heavy equipments, chemical and chemical merchandise and textiles, rubber and steel merchandise.


As talked about earlier, EU-ECOWAS relations are ruled by the agreements between EU and ACP group of States. So as to obtain their aims, the relations between the 2 our bodies have traditionally been framed by a collection of conventions. For EU-ECOWAS relations, essentially the most operative conventions are Lomé Conventions (1975-2000) and Cotonou Settlement (2000-2020).

The Lomé Conventions (1975-2000) consist of 4 regimes of conventions from Lomé I which was first signed in February 1975 in Lomé, Togo to Lomé IV which resulted in 2000. The Lomé Conventions are a commerce and assist settlement between the European Neighborhood (EC) and the ACP group of states. The primary Lomé Conference was designed to offer a brand new framework of cooperation between the then European Neighborhood (EC) and creating ACP nations. The Lome Conventions’ most necessary attribute is its non-reciprocity, which permits ACP exports obligation free entry to the European market whereas enabling the ACP states to take care of tariff obstacles in opposition to European items. It launched the STABEX and SYSMIN system which have been designed to compensate ACP nations for the shortfall in agricultural export earnings and mining trade actions respectively as a result of fluctuation within the costs or provide of commodities (ACP-EEC, 1995; 1975).

The Lomé Conference was a dedication to an equal partnership between Europe and ACPs (Holland, 2002). A essential overview of the commerce settlement/conference nonetheless, reveals a perpetuation of unequal energy relations between each events. For instance, the reciprocity clause has at all times been geared in the direction of assembly export pursuits of European corporations (Orbie, 2008) and the negotiation for the Lomé conference itself was a mirrored image of Third World commodity energy, which the EU was eager to protect by its privileged entry to those commodities through its ex-colonial hyperlinks (Gibb, 2000).

However, Lomé conventions have been thought of because the hallmark of the EU’s coverage with the Third world and essentially the most institutionalised of all EU’s group-to-group dialogues. It marked a particular development from a regime of affiliation to what might be referred to as a discussion board of partnership and cooperation (Harm, 2003; Holland, 2002). It has additionally been argued by Crawford (2007) that Lomé Conference is essentially the most vital settlement for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Cotonou Settlement (2000-2020) is the latest settlement within the historical past of ACP-EU Improvement Cooperation. It's primarily based on 4 principal rules: partnership, participation, dialogue and mutual obligations, and differentiation in addition to regionalization (ACP-EEC, 2000). One of many radical modifications and elementary parts of the Cotonou Settlement considerations commerce cooperation between EU-ACP states. This isn't stunning given the truth that EU has unique commerce competencies and commerce coverage instrument has been a key technique of its exterior coverage (Lightfoot, 2010; Orbie, 2008; Bretherton and Vogler, 1999). Essentially the most putting function of the brand new commerce cooperation is the truth that the non-reciprocal commerce preferences have been changed with a brand new scheme of Financial Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The EPAs are schemes geared toward making a Free Commerce Space (FTA) between the EU and ACP nations (ACP-EEC, 2000).

The EPAs are a response to persevering with criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential commerce agreements supplied by the EU are incompatible with WTO guidelines. Other than the problem of WTO compatibility, it was additionally argued that beneficiant commerce preferences weren't sufficient for financial take off (European Fee, 1995). It was subsequently seen as having achieved restricted success by way of selling accelerated improvement in ACP nations. So, what does the EPA signify for EU-ECOWAS relations?

The negotiations on an EPA between ECOWAS and the EU have been launched in Brussels in 2002 (ECA, 2007). Nonetheless, the negotiations have to date been inconclusive as a result of some considerations that the EPAs will result in giant commerce imbalances in West African economies, in addition to substitution of native and regional manufacturing by European imports (Perez and Karingi, 2007). The decline in import duties because of the preferential tariff elimination has additionally been a serious concern for West African nations (Busse and Grobmann, 2004). Particularly, the reciprocity situation implicit within the settlement, implied that at a while earlier than 2020, the ECOWAS nations should have to open up their economies to imports from the EU nations. This may occasionally invariably result in commerce diversion, commerce creation, lack of commerce revenues and deindustrialisation (World Financial institution, 2007; Adenikinju and Alaba, 2005).

In a research on the impacts of the EU-ECOWAS EPAs, Lang (2006) discovered that Ghana and particularly Guinea-Bissau may lose as much as 20% of their Authorities price range revenues in case of a full liberalisation of EU imports. Though tariff income falls have been thought of highest in Nigeria in absolute greenback phrases, these two nations would be the most affected. In an analogous research on the impacts of the EU-ACP EPAs in six ACP areas, Fontagne et al (2008:6-7), ACP exports to the EU are forecast to be 10 p.c greater with the EPAs than below the GSP/EBA choice. On common ACP nations are forecast to lose 70 p.c of tariff revenues on EU imports in the long term. Essentially the most affected area is ECOWAS. The implication of a lack of tariff earnings would translate into public price range constraints and will subsequently pose nice developmental challenges for ECOWAS nations.

However, each Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana agreed and endorsed interim EPAs with the EU in December 2007 (European Fee, 2009). These agreements have been principally put in place as a result of full regional EPAs couldn't be agreed upon. Of those three largest buying and selling companions with the EU, Nigeria opted out of an interim EPA. For now, the nation can solely profit from the common EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). That is far much less advantageous than the nonreciprocal Lomé preferences as a result of the GSP covers fewer merchandise and has stricter guidelines of origin (Harm, 2003). Although the Nigerian Authorities has twice utilized to be positioned on the GSP+ standing, the EU has rejected the functions purely for political causes (Nwoke, 2009).

The remainder of the West African area is essentially made up of Least Developed International locations (European Fee, 2009). They've an choice to not negotiate since they've obligation free entry to the EU below the ‘Every little thing However Arms’ (EBA) scheme (Orbie, 2008; Bilal, 2007). The EBA is the differentiation element of Cotonuo Settlement made within the remedy of least developed nations (LDCs) and non-LDCs. For these 13 nations, the EPA could not carry extra advantages over the EBA aside from the technical and monetary assist that the previous could carry (Adenikinju and Alaba, 2005). So, their stage of dedication to signing full EPA is marginal. It wants mentioning that the small positive factors which could end result from the EBA initiative are anticipated to fade away as a consequence of the EU negotiations on EPAs (Kohnert, 2008). Apart from, the contentious nature of EBA scheme as a result of its unilateral introduction makes it much less engaging (Bilal, 2002). As Flint (2008:60) argues “the EU has highlighted additional issues dealing with policymakers” by the break up into separate blocs of LDC and non-LDC. That is very illustrative of EU-ECOWAS relations.

From the foregoing, it's discernible that in impact, the EPA will play a big position in terminating the ECOWAS group as the principle improvement companion of the EU. Previous to the EPA negotiations, ECOWAS nations haven't had nice success at considerably enlarging commerce amongst member states. Intraregional commerce as a proportion of whole commerce stays a lot decrease in African regional integration (UNCTAD, 2009). And, with the brand new EPAs technique that seeks for unilateral negotiation in follow, commerce enchancment amongst member states is additional undermined (Borrmann et al, 2005). Concisely, the EPA is detrimental to the reason for regional integration. For EU-ECOWAS, the 2 rules of reciprocity and deeper regional integration are more likely to pull in numerous instructions (Lang, 2006).



The Assist for Commerce initiative emerged throughout the Doha Spherical out of the necessity to assist all nations to profit from commerce i.e. to maximise the positive factors from commerce. But, demand for, and capability to soak up, “assist for commerce” nonetheless exceeds obtainable sources (World Financial institution, 2005). The EU Assist for Commerce technique adopted in October 2007 confirms the European dedication to offer EUR2 billion per yr in Commerce Associated Help by 2010 and to extend spending for the broader Assist for Commerce agenda (ECDPM, 2009). A overview of Assist for Commerce nonetheless reveals that donors have achieved their pledges just by making use of the modified WTO-OECD monitoring guidelines, with out initiating any new tasks (Brüntrup and Voionmaa, 2010). So, for ECOWAS nations whose capability constructing and supply-side constraints have been a significant factor within the lack of competitiveness and the comparatively poor commerce and development efficiency (AU, 2006), Assist for Commerce can solely be significant whether it is translated into real recent assist for utilisation.

Additionally, the problem of democracy promotion in EU-ECOWAS relations is extra of rhetoric than accomplishment. Crawford (2005) argument that the EU’s pursuits in Africa focus much less on democracy promotion and extra on the perceived burdens and safety threats to Europe arising from political instability and battle appears extra instructive and matter of reality.


The EPA negotiations to determine a Free Commerce Zone between EU and ECOWAS in step with Cotonuo settlement for a interval of 12 years have vital implications on the economies of ECOWAS nations. Given the construction and commerce patterns of ECOWAS nations through which manufactures account for about 75% of the EU’s export to ECOWAS, full liberalisation of their economies will lead to lack of income, deindustrialisation and can make the nations to be extra susceptible within the international financial system.

It's much less to be seen if the IEPAs/EPAs negotiations would engender commerce that can lead to improvement and poverty discount for the West Africa sub area. The commerce cooperation upon which EPAs is based symbolises regional integration in rules however its technique of interim EPAs amongst particular person nations of the area and EBA for least developed nations encourages unilateralism in follow.


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