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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).

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

Trade picture

  • 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 transformed products (fisheries, agribusiness, textile, etc.).
  • In terms of sectors, West Africa's exports to the EU still 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.
  •  All the countries in West Africa are members of the WTO.

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 (EPA) 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 provides a competitive advantage to West African producers especially on transformed products, and is coupled with strong development cooperation programmes towards private sector. 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.

Both parties have started to design together a monitoring mechanism fr for the implementation of the EPA.

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