The first meeting of the Joint Council under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place in Cape Town today.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, who co-chairs the meeting, said: “Trade is a powerful tool for development and I am very pleased to see this development-oriented agreement bearing its first fruit. We need to focus now on putting into practice all remaining aspects of the agreement so that citizens and businesses on both sides can benefit fully from the opportunities provided by our partnership. The decisions taken today by the Joint Council make us advance in the right direction.” In today’s meeting the EU and SADC representatives have adopted decisions that will ensure an efficient functioning of all institutions created by the EPA. The meeting also focusses on the important role that non-state actors should play in the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the agreement.The EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 10 June 2016 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The agreement became the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully operational after Mozambique joined in February 2018. The EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements aim at promoting trade with participating countries, and ultimately contribute, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction.The EU-SADC EPA is also one of the building blocks towards the future African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).