THE EXTERNAL SECTOR OF AFRICA’S ECONOMY

My co-authored chapter (with Kweku Ortsin) titled “The ECOWAS–EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs): Towards Inclusive Development?” in the book edited by Professor Diery Seck of CREPOL (Center for Research on Political Economy) is out.  The book is part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series published by Springer

The book examines various aspects of Africa’s external economy by focusing on regional monetary arrangements and how they are affected by devaluation episodes. It investigates the relationship between current account balances, trade balances and trade openness with respect to regional integration and regional growth patterns, discusses obstacles to a successful regional integration and paths to structural transformation, and studies the impact of economic partnership on inclusive development. The book addresses researchers and policymakers interested in development economies and African economic development.

Our paper [Chapter 10] analyses the ECOWAS-EU EPA agreement attempting to answer the question: how does the agreement foster both international trade and inclusive development by promoting investment and sustainable growth? Using evidence from countries in the ECOWAS sub-region, this discussion paper covers the following thematic areas: (1) external sector development impact of the EPA agreement and (2) the impact on fostering inclusive growth and development. Our analyses indicate that the EPAs will pose a number of policy challenges for West African countries as their economies increasingly morph into the global economy.

However, the EPA provides an opportunity to fast-track global trade and the regional integration agenda in West Africa. It is important that the EU treats the EPA as an instrument of development cooperation and not a conduit to pursue mercantilist corporate interests as did happen in colonial times. We also find out that balanced growth and poverty reduction are not automatic outcomes from liberalization processes, but rather these objectives must be actively promoted by complementary policies in conjunction with appropriate fiscal adjustments in order to fully gain from trade liberalization.

About the Author

Theo Acheampong
Theo is an economist and social media enthusiast who provides regular commentary on socioeconomic and political developments in Ghana and Africa at large. Theo is passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship and the role of innovative technologies in solving Africa's developmental challenges.

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