EU to sign EPA with six SADC member states

The European Union (EU) will on June 10, 2016 sign its Economic Partnership Agreement with six member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) after the European Council on Wednesday authorized the signature and provisional application of the deal.

The SADC EPA Group countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The signing ceremony is due to take place in Kasane, Botswana.

The economic partnership agreements are intended to enhance regional integration and economic development in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

They are based on the principle of asymmetrical market opening, meaning that they provide a better access to the EU market for ACP partners, notably offering unprecedented market opportunities for agricultural and fisheries products.

EPAs replace the previous market access regime of unilateral preferences for ACP countries.

SADC is a regional economic bloc comprising 15 member states – Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Established in 1992, SADC is committed to regional integration and poverty eradication within the sub-region through economic development and ensuring peace and security.