The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was hailed as the pact that will eventually liberalise trade between the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States. 

The accord was meant to progressively ease tariffs and shatter other trade barriers. Essentially, the agreements would have allowed member states of ECOWAS to export more goods to Europe, and in return, permit manufacturers of finished products in the EU direct access to West Africa’s hitherto protected markets.

The negotiations for the EPA, however, ran into trouble waters when regional powerhouse, Nigeria, and a couple of other countries refused to sign the agreement last year. Brussels gave an October 1, 2016 deadline. Abuja defied it. In Ghana, however, decades of poor economic decision-making beginning with the Structural Adjustment Policy of the IMF, which wrecked damages to a once-productive agricultural savannah is about to be repeated as the country has now signed an interim EPA with Brussels. This investigation reveals some of the challenges associated with the accord that suave policymakers and politicians from Abuja to Accra would rather not talk about.

Team members

Kolawole Talabi

Kolawole Talabi is an independent journalist from Nigeria. 

Daan Bauwens

Daan Bauwens is a Belgium-based investigative journalist.

Nicholas Ibekwe

Nicholas Ibekwe is the Deputy Head of Investigations at Nigeria's foremost online newspaper, Premium Times, and a multi-award-winning journalist. 

Grant of €10.561 awarded in 2016

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