European Union’s trading relationship with Africa – 2016
EU-Africa relations date over 60 years since the signing of the Rome Treaty, through to the Cotonou Agreement in 2000 and more recently the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). There has been a general slowdown in the EU’s export growth to Africa over the 2006-2015 period, and the impact of financial crises in 2008 is clearly visible. Weak demand, austerity measures, and low commodity prices have all affected EU imports from Africa.
With the conclusion of the EPAs, trade between the EU and Africa is expected to rise. The EPAs are expected not only to preserve preferential access to the EU but also increase market access for countries such as South Africa. The continued development cooperation also guaranteed under the EPAs will help African countries develop not only their local economies through trade facilitation, but also ensure that the EU provides support for poverty reduction programmes.