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West Africa

West Africa

The EU has initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement with 16 West African states, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

More information on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and West Africa.

Find below the full text of the agreement:

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Pending the adoption of the regional EPA with West Africa, "stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreements" with Ivory Coast and Ghana entered into provisional application respectively on 3 September 2016 and 15 December 2016.

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  • West Africa is the EU's largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. The EU is West Africa's biggest trading partner. The EU supplies a large part of the equipment that contributes to economic growth and development in the region and is the main export market for West African agricultural and fisheries products.
  • Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria account for 80% of West Africa's exports to the EU.
  • Despite ongoing regional integration processes in the region, barriers to intra-regional trade remain a challenge for the economies in West Africa. Regional trade lags behind compared to trade with developed and emerging countries outside Africa.
  • All the countries in West Africa except for Liberia are members of the WTO. Liberia is currently going through the accession process with full support of the EU.
  • In terms of sectors, West Africa's exports to the EU consist mainly of fuels and food products. West Africa's imports from the EU consist of fuels, food products, machinery, and chemicals and pharmaceutical products.
  • EU – West Africa trade in services is expanding, covering notably transportation and logistics, travel, and business services. West Africa is also the most important investment destination for the EU in Africa.

EU-West Africa "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2014-2016, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2014 37.0 31.1 -5.9
2015 28.4 29.1 0.6
2016 20.4 24.9 4.5

Date of retrieval: 15/02/2017

More statistics on West Africa

EU and West Africa

The Economic Partnership Agreement with West Africa covers goods and development cooperation. The EPA also included the possibility to hold further negotiations on sustainable development, services, investment and other trade-related issues in the future. The EPA will help West Africa to integrate better into the global trading system and will support investment and economic growth in the region.

For West Africa, the EPA will increase exports to the EU, stimulate investment and contribute to developing productive capacity, with a positive effect on employment. The EPA will support necessary reforms and promote economic and social development. Its implementation will strengthen regional integration.

For the EU, it opens new business opportunities and increases legal certainty for European investors in the region. It gives both partners practical tools for solving any potential problem and stepping up trade cooperation

Trade relations with West Africa are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States


Trading with West Africa