Despite widespread criticism and negative prospects facing the EPAs in Africa, the Caribbean region appeared to demonstrate a better outlook, at least when compared to the East African Community (EAC) and latest germane headlines. However, some concerns were expressed over the 2008 EU Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe. “Trying to answer questions about the success […]is far from easy”, according to Dominican Today. Although it seems clear “that there are very large sums of money” being made available by the EU and which are intended to both support regional integration and meet EPA requirements, “it is hard to find any evidence that use is being made of the trade aspects of the agreement other than in relation to the improved access it offers in the area of commodity exports”.
One of the topics raised last week was the impact of the BRICS on developing countries. Trade experts have once again sounded the alarm regarding growing ties between Africa and China. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, this reached $126.9 billion in 2010, while trade volume rose by 30 per cent year-on-year during the first three-quarters of 201. According to an article by Daily Nation, Kenya, as one of China’s top five trading partners, has been the subject of complaints by some EU Member states representatives. They protest in particular their lack of access to President Kibaki. In the words of the author: “The trade volume between Africa and EU countries has significantly dropped, which is one of the reasons why diplomats are unhappy with the Kibaki administration […] In a way, these diplomats are under pressure from their metropolitan states to restore the lost glory of cosy African relations as the Chinese have clearly found favour with the Kibaki administration".
New EU development initiatives were also announced at the beginning of May. Following a high-level meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the EU has granted ClimDev Africa Initiative €8 million to support Africa’s response to climate change challenges.