According to a statement issued by the European Commission, the funds will greatly enhance trade and investment flows to West African countries, thus contributing to their development, sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The PAPED is an essential element of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiated with West Africa, and will provide funding for projects linked to trade, industry, transport and energy infrastructure in the region, as well as through support to civil society.
“This substantial new commitment from the European Commission and the EU Member States, demonstrates EU’s continuous support to West Africa’s regional integration, which is the most advanced of the African continent,” the statement underscored.
Commissioner Piebalgs said: “EU’s commitment responds to the needs expressed by West Africa and will allow the region to take advantage of all the opportunities of the Economic Partnership Agreement. The implementation of the EPA will be instrumental in creating favourable conditions to boost trade in the region and stimulate growth and job creation. The development of the region will also contribute to increase peace and stability in West Africa.”
In 2010, the EU already pledged to provide €6.5 billion to support the PAPED for the period 2010-2014. This pledge was eventually increased and the EU has funded projects worth €8.2 billion (through the European instruments, member states’ bilateral cooperation and the European Investment Bank).
The region of West Africa includes The Gambia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cap Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania.
In the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, the European Union acknowledged the importance of the PAPED developed by West Africa during the negotiations of the EPA between the 16 states in the region and the European Union.
“The PAPED is an essential step in the process towards the implementation of the future EPA. The EPA represents a new kind of partnership between West Africa and the EU in the sense that although it is a trade agreement, it has a specific development objective. It is designed to strengthen West-African economies via the production and export of a wider range of goods, and by increasing trade between the countries in the region.
The negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union have recently been concluded and endorsement at political level is expected in due course.