Trade trends are changing rapidly in West Africa and Africa at large. Africa has been and remains the much larger market for ECOWAS manufactured products. Europe remains a large market for raw materials but Africa's manufactured exports to the intra-African market are growing at a much faster pace than the exports to the EU market.
West Africa countries need to move away from primary commodity dependency and become a manufacturing hub. Although Africa market remains their best option, there are huge opportunities in the European market if it can polish its act to meet up to global standards. Otherwise the African market will continually be taken over by European and Asian goods.
Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are often necessary to protect human, animal and plant life or health, including to protect them from risks arising from imported goods. Such measures should be based on the WTO SPS Agreement, international standards, recommendations or guidelines or be based on scientific principles. However, developing countries often feel imposed with unjustified SPS measures in a way that the SPS measure negatively affects the EU exports of agriculture and fishery products
EPA agreement claims to protect the agriculture sector through the sensitive list, i.e. some products have be selected for protection, but that will that really help West African farmers? One of the main problems in relation to the EU has been the huge domestic support granted to its producers to make their products cheaper in the outside market. The local African producers may not have access to this type of funding which will enable it meet all SPS and international standards so as to take equal advantage of the Trade agreement. West African governments need to increase funding to the agricultural sector to enable their farmers meet international export stands, to take full advantage of the opportunities EPA offers West Africa.