The future of regional economic integration in the context of European–African trade relations

"The future of regional economic integration in the context of European–African trade relations" has been discussed amongst politicians and civil society representatives from Africa and Europe at a conference in Arusha in early September, organised by the Rosa-Luxemburg - Stiftung’s East Africa Office.

Preliminary considerations by an editorial group of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung on how a progressive regional transformation agenda could be established in the context of growing criticism of the free trade ideology and the crisis of the World Trade Organization where circulated amongst participants prior to the conference.

However, the conference has been overshadowed by recent turmoil in the state of play of the EU-East Africa trade agreement negotiations (EPA). Tanzania announced its willingness to reject signing the East Africa EPA whereas Kenya signed while its parliament was in recession. The European Commission has set a deadline by which market access will be withdrawn. Moreover, the turmoil in the European Union after the Brexit vote cannot be left out from strategic considerations on EU-Africa trade relations. After all the UK remains the most important market for a number of African countries’ exports.

Those issues where addressed by a statement of civil society organisations drafted during the conference in Arusha, urging EU and East African legislators to reconsider their trade agenda.

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Full report of the conference