There are no two ways about this. Kenya’s Parliament must reject the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Kenya and the UK must from scratch renegotiate a new agreement that reflects Kenya’s interests. The current agreement is heavily tilted towards the interests of the United Kingdom and its multinationals stationed in Kenya. There are three major reasons why Parliament must reject and renegotiate this agreement.
Economic Partnership Agreement
Uncertainty looms for the Kenyan floriculture industry, as leaders of the East African Community Partner States – apart from Kenya - are stalling the ratification of the 2014 Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EAC-EU EPA). This analysis explains the deadlock in which this industry finds itself.
As we approach the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement in early 2020, the time is now for the Caribbean to enter into the negotiating arena with our loins girded with belts of truth about our reality. A reality that is characterized by simultaneous integration and fragmentation; a reality in which we are physically small but geopolitically large; a reality where our small size must be seen as buoyant, agile, proficient strength as we navigate the global arena. A reality where our mature and battered regional institutions must now be renovated and become fit for our future purposes.
There is a feeling that the next decade will be a watershed period in terms of the economic relations between the EU and Africa. Both continents are experiencing sweeping developments that will invariably affect their respective existence and mutual relationships. In Africa, the largest preferential trade area, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has recently been ratified while in Europe, the EU is navigating the challenges of Brexit. All this is taking place in the backdrop of negotiations between the two blocs to replace the Cotonou Agreement which has since 2000 served as the bedrock of economic relations between the EU and ACP states. How, then, will the Africa-EU relationship be impacted – if at all – by the implementation of AfCFTA?
It has become increasingly clear with the unfolding of the EPA events that the failure of the Community to achieve basic set out objectives lies deeper than the merits of the projects embarked on. As it has not proved efficient to hold each Partner State to their commitments to the Community at all times, it is necessary to address the systemic weaknesses that allow unconstructive concerns to permeate well-intended goals.
The AfCFTA will continue to face a number of risks that threaten to impede continental integration in favour of fragmentation. Of interest to this post are bilateral trade agreements between African countries, individually or in smaller groups, on the one hand, and non-African countries or regions, on the other.
With over 100 countries involved, the revision of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 is an extremely important endeavor that presents immense opportunities to all the parties and that requires careful negotiations. The Agreement will expire in 2020 and the parties are currently negotiating a new framework that is expected to reflect today’s socio-economic opportunities, challenges and concerns. This contribution looks at some of the strategic elements to consider when updating or amending investment-related provisions of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.