The Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger (AYCAH) in collaboration with Action Aid international yesterday started a three day national capacity building training at the Miatta conference hall on the campaign against the economic partnership agreement(EPA).
The project coordinator of AYCAH Francis Amara whilst giving an overview of the organization stressed that the training was about the eradication of hunger and poverty and to also educate about the EPA agreement which he said was not going to be beneficial to the African farmers as the agreement was negative not giving room to the African farmers to compete with the European farmers.
The purpose of the training is to build the capacity of civil society organizations in mobilizing them for their rights and to hold the state accountable. The training is to also build awareness of citizens on government’s duty and citizens responsibility, build capacity of civil society organizations on the EPAs and free trade agreements thus developing their advocacy strategy on EPA.
EPA negotiations at the regional level were launched after the failure of the WTO Cancun negotiations as the European Committee’s(EC) mandate goes beyond what the African Carribean and Pacific (ACP)countries agreed to in the Cotonou partnership agreements as well as what is required for WTO compatibility.
Several political pressures and threats to development aid cuts exercised by the EC, eventually led to the initial interim EPAs with several disagreements between the EU and ACP on the development dimension which still has to be hammered down most notably on market access and tariff reduction schedules.
The organization is trying to protect agricultural products from ACP countries, liberalization beyond goods and services, the development finance essential for tackling supply side constraints and specific EPA related adjustment needs.
During the training, statements were supposed to be made by Mr Samuel Brima, Head of Department, Economics Department FourahBay College, who will speak on the review of literature on EPA whilst Dr M. Gbonda, principal economist Ministry of finance will speak on the challenges and opportunities and what constitutes the EPA objectives.
By Ishmael Bayoh