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from: printable/200906190620.html 19 June 2009 Can you imagine what will happen in a football match in which the almighty Brazil is allowed to field eleven of its world renowned players while the opposing side fields only a player? It sounds utterly absurd, doesn't it?

Simplistic as this analogy might seem, it does hold a lot when one takes a critical look at the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and 75 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The EPAs are aimed at fostering free trade between the two sides. This means for instance that there would be substantial elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers within the free trade area created under each of the EPAs.

The analogy holds even firmer when the EU as a group of 25 mainly highly industrialized countries, enters the agreement not with say ECOWAS as a group but with individual countries within the sub-region.

As students of the Adam Smith school of thought, the Europeans believe that free trade maximizes social welfare. But social welfare for whom? What if the trade in question is lopsided in nature; such that one of the parties to the trade has far more potential than the other? What if one party which is asking for free market access has a far stronger industrial, financial and other economic base? What if that same party is the number one subsidizer of its agricultural sector in the world? "The EU is the world's largest subsidizer of agriculture and thus causes the greatest harm to the livelihoods of the world's poorest people in developing countries," (Faizel Ismail, 2007).

On the other hand, African economies remain largely underdeveloped while at the same time African governments are being advised by their development partners not to subsidize their already famished agricultural sector.

And then as usual, African countries have refused to come together to negotiate the EPAs as a group. Deadlines have been missed and the June 2009 deadline is about missed and it is still not clear whether a deal would be reached between ECOWAS and the EU any time soon. In the meantime, Ghana, seeing that other ECOWAS countries including Nigeria are dragging their feet, has gone ahead like Ivory Coast, to "initial" an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the EU. Indeed, it is said that the document presented to Ghana was nothing but a translated copy of what the EU presented to the Ivory Coast. Those who think it was not a big deal say the same rules apply in international trade. But Mr. Tetteh Hormeku of the Third World Network (TWN) would always argue that Ghana could have negotiated on its own terms for a better deal. It was indeed, in a hasty manner that Ghana, in December 2008 went ahead to "initial" the IEPAs. A source says that not only did "our development partners" keep reminding Ghana's negotiating team that they were the number one benefactors of the country in terms of loans and grants, but that they actually used a certain $65 million grant facility as a bargaining chip.

What is interesting is that while ECOWAS is telling the EU it cannot liberalise beyond 65%, Ghana has agreed in the IEPA to eliminate tariffs on 80% of its imports from the EU over a 12 year period. "If this is the case (Patel, 2007), Ghanaians might benefit from access to cheaper (imported) goods, but this potential gain must also be seen in the context of the impact on production and Ghana's broader long-term national development. ... for more, kindly go to the source

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1. African Agenda 7.5/7.6 (December 2004) Bumper edition, which includes 10 years of the magazine. Read the magazine here: http:// option=com_content&view=article&id=162:african-agenda-75-76- bumper-edition&catid=37:african-agenda&Itemid=58

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Africa on the brink of disintergration
pages 1-4

Regionalism – the south’s exit strategy from global crises
pages 4-6

EPA Negiations-Regional State of Play
pages 6-9

Advocacy File
pages 9-11

Dateline Africa
pages 12-13

Global Round-Up
pages 13-15

Notice Board
page 15

*you can download the full PDF document here

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May 26, 2009

Accra, GNA - Dr Yao Graham, Executive Director of the Third World Network, has said Africa still has gaping political vacuum despite attempts by many African leaders to aspire to inherit late President Kwame Nkrumah's mantle as the visionary and driver of Pan-Africanism and continental unity.

He said Nkrumah's leadership and rallying role in African affairs went well beyond his vision and theorizing to include support for national liberation movements.

Dr Graham was speaking at a lecture organized by All African Student Union (AASU) as part of the "Nkrumah at 100" Lecture series in Accra.

Dr Graham who spoke on the topic: "Nkrumah at 100: Lessons and challenges for African Leadership" also formed part of activities marking AU Day.

He said Nkrumah's support for the liberation struggle also embodied a unity of his pan-Africanism and commitment to anti- colonial independence as a necessary precondition for the continent's unity and progress.

Dr Graham said despite Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's seemingly radical stance on African unity, "the sad truth is that he is not the successor of Nkrumah that the continent currently and urgently needs."

"Col Gaddafi does not offer a coherent vision or leadership practice of pan-Africanism in keeping with the needs of the age and these shortcomings are compounded by his unpredictability and histrionics."

Dr Graham said some of Col Gaddafi's views and pronouncements showed him up as a man deeply marked by his years as an authoritarian leader.

"Among his many bizarre acts is his current self-designation as King of Africa's kings, a reactionary assertion out of tune with the democratic logic of the continent's national liberation struggles."

He said the African people want democracy not monarchs and if there was one element of Africa's postcolonial history that the masses want behind them it is the years of despotism.

Dr Graham said the current global crisis had validated what critics of neo-liberalism have been saying for years, that years of growth had failed to effect any transformation or brought about any reduction in poverty.

He said Africa's response to the global crisis has so far lacked urgency and the sense that this was an opportunity to make a break with some of the discredited policies that have failed to deliver transformative growth over the past couple of decades.

Dr Graham said the only thing African leaders have succeed in doing at global forums is to plead for Africa to be remembered for security of aid.

"This is a clear sign that there are no leaders who can see opportunities for change in the current crisis."

Dr Bright Oduro Kwarteng, a lecture at the Ghana Institute of Management Public Administration, accused the military and elements of the United Party (UP) tradition for conspiring with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overthrow the Nkrumah regime in 1966.

He appealed to Mills Administration to move the statute of General Emmanuel Kotoka from the airport and change the name to that of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.




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