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This chapter, by Ghanaian scholar John Akokpari, provides a systematic examination of the European Union’s (EU) relationship with Africa. He argues that while African countries have derived important trade and aid benefits from their partnership with Europe, this has continued to be an asymmetrical relationship that places constraints on Africa’s regional integration and development efforts. Akokpari begins with a brief overview of the continent’s trade and economic relations with Europe during the Lomé period (1975–2000) and under the 2000 Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group and the EU. This is followed by an in-depth assessment of the negotiating processes for Cotonou-mandated economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between the EU and five ACP regional groupings in Africa. Akokpari contends that the EPAs offer relatively few opportunities for African countries to diversify their economies, and as such would be likely to deepen the asymmetrical nature of the EU’s relations with the continent. The chapter also discusses the EU’s development assistance to Africa, as well as its parallel diplomacy with the continent under the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) outside the ACP framework.
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- The EU and Africa: The Political Economy of an Asymmetrical Partnership
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