Increasing trade between the EU and the ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific), particularly African countries, lay at the heart of the ambition of the Cotonou Agreement. That was supposed to be embodied by regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the EU.
But it has not worked out that way. Eight percent of EU exports and less than 7% of EU imports came to and from Africa in 2016.
Slow to be negotiated, in large part because many African regional blocs felt the European Commission was pushing them to open up access to their markets to European firms, only one EPA has been successfully ratified, with the six-member Southern African Development Community (SADC).
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