Francis Atwoli, Cotu Secretary-General has requested the European Union (EU) to desist from pushing African nations into signing the litigious Economic Partnerships Agreements (EPAs)
According to Mr. Atwoli they will weaken the weak economies of the continent’s nations.
Mr. Atwoli spoke during a meeting with the European Commission in Brussels.
He said the EU was taking advantage of the African countries and their feeble endeavors into forcing them to sign the contracts will only affect their economies negatively.
“EPAs in the present form will aid in maintaining the present subsidized European agro-food dumping into African states,” he said, alluding to the collapse of the textile industry in Kenya.
According to Mr. Atwoli, the only way out is for the EU to guarantee clear safeguards for the African countries economies and to allow flexibility.
He also cited that the EPA’s in their present form are unfeasible and will require changes to make them functional in African states.
He argued that even though East Africa stands as the most food secure and supreme region in Africa, the tariffs on agricultural imports will reduce over time.
He stressed out how Kenya’s manufacturing sector was hit hard due to the opening of the local market where Kenya’s young factories were forced to compete with those subsidized in Europe
He appealed for an independent impact evaluation to be prepared for every regional integration procedure taking into account gendered impact and asked for the present EPAs talks to end.
He also condemned African Nations for failing to build the capacity to negotiate in order to inform their prospective negotiations with the European Union.
He concluded by praising the strong stand by the EAC community, especially Tanzania and cited the exit of Britain from EU raised more questions and demands on how the EPAs should be crafted