Civil societies calls for wide consultations on EPAs

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, July 25, 2007

Civil Society organizations have called for meaningful consultations on the impending Economic Partnership Agreements – EPAs.

Cuts-International and Econews Africa say the decision by the European Commission to continue offering subsidies for its agricultural sector will undermine growth of the sector in Kenya.

Speaking at a media workshop held in Nakuru, EPA project coordinator Victor Ogalo said subsidies for export commodities from the European Union to Africa would make local produce uncompetitive. He said this could drive local producers out of the market.

Ogalo argued that the Agricultural sector is the main source of income for most African countries and undermining production could result in negative development.

The EPAs are set to come into force next year replacing the African Caribean and Pacifi- ACP countries’ Cotonou agreement.

The Agreement guarantees preferential access of goods from Africa to EU, it however lapses in December this year and will be replaced by the EPAs.

At the same time, Econews Africa, Programs Officer Peter Aoga has also appealed to the government to consult widely and look for the alternatives before entering into the EPAs, speaking at the media workshop, Aoga said Kenya could lose on gains that the country has already gained in especially the agricultural sector if the negotiations are not handled with utmost care.

He noted that large producers in the EU would be the main beneficiaries as opposed to small producers in Africa.

An estimated 12 per cent drop in revenue collection is envisaged should the EPAs come into effect.

Kenya has however been promised the same level of access to EU markets, should the country sign the EPAs at the end of the year.

Trade and Industry Minister Mukhisa Kituyi says Kenya has been pushing for the conclusion of the negotiations but is at a disadvantage since it is no longer a Least Developed Country – LCD like Uganda and Tanzania who are guaranteed duty-free market access for their goods into the EU.

This news can also be viewed at: