This week, the European Union and the Ivory Coast signed a groundbreaking Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the first of its kind between the EU and an African trading partner.
The deal was signed in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, by the country’s minister for African integration, Amadou Koné, and the European Commission’s deputy director general for trade, Karl Falkenberg.
Included in the deal is a trade agreement, giving the Ivory Coast duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market while it gradually opens up its own economy. The country has agreed to liberalise 81 per cent of imports from the EU over a 15-year period.
Also part of the agreement is a plan of developmental assistance aimed at accelerating growth and development in the Ivory Coast.
The next step, according to officials, is to expand the negotiations to the whole of the West Africa region.