Civil Society Consultation on the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

On the 22nd of August, the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), in partnership with the Southern African Trust (SAT) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), hosted a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the role of civil society in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement. This policy brief provides a summary and recommendations from the dialogue. In Botswana on the 10th of June 2016, after 10 years of negotiation, the EU and six countries of the SADC region – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique – signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) giving the SADC EPA Group 100% free access (South Africa had 98.7% customs duties removed) to the EU market. The EPA became fully operational in February 2018. The economic partnership is development-orientated with the expectation of facilitating sustainable development, reducing poverty and advancing regional integration. Some of the key issues raised in this dialogue pertained to the developmental and economic intentions of the EPA, the role of civil society within a SADC EPA framework, the post-BREXIT environment, development finance, implications for regional integration of SADC countries belonging to different trade blocs, opportunities and challenges faced by the EPA and possible partnerships available for work on EPAs.

Read PDF here: SADC-EPA PB 19Sept2018 – Illustrated