I have listened and read far and wide on the EPA and tge myriad of arguments and analysis made by think-tanks and non-think-reservoirs and for me, this is where the big picture comes to:
The whole EPA issue seems a sort of “trading capabilities gap-bridging” mechanism between beauty and the beast, or better still, David and Goliath for which a solution is being sought through reciprocity.
I have often asked myself the question “does Sub Saharan Africa need to face up to its own “demon-consequences” of inefficiency, non-competitiveness and non-productivity? Why do we always have to be “the other guys” in the global economy boardroom who must be treated with a lot more care and a bit more leniency? Why arent the same EPA terms applicable to our neighbours in North Africa? How long can we continue to use economic and trade technicalities to argue, that we deserve preferential treatments rather than attempting to do what we have to do to stand up in the room and get counted?
The world is becoming a den, in which the fittest survive. The truth is even without the EPA we will, at least in the medium term continue to be dependent on the EU market because we have failed to develop and explore our own regional opportunities for starters. The EU on the other hand will always find creative ways around their dilemmas.
If we dont deal with our real underlying non-productivity, non-competitiveness, inefficiency and lack of creativity, we will continue to believe the negotiation table is the place to trade our “incapacity” for “economic preferences” and that, my brothers and sisters is what makes us appear weak eveb before we start negotiations.