Sustainable implementation of EU economic partnership agreements

Project description

Title: ICR project: Supporting Sustainability Aspects in the Implementation of EU Economic Partnership Agreements (NEW)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: The regions of the South African Development Community (SADC) and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020



When the Lomé Convention expired, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states held negotiations with the European Union (EU) on new partnerships that would secure the continuation of preferential market access. The resulting economic partnership agreements (EPAs) usher in a new era of trade agreements that go beyond purely economic goals: their purpose is to support sustainable development and poverty alleviation, promote regional integration in the partner regions, and link trade policy with tools for development.

In 2008, the EU signed an economic partnership agreement with CARIFORUM (Caribbean Community countries and the Dominican Republic). Six South African Development Community (SADC) states – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini – also concluded an agreement with the EU in 2016.

Governments, businesses, and civil society must have the skills, resources and capabilities needed to appropriately interpret and implement the provisions of an EPA – and thus boost trade flows. Implementation must be supported by appropriate development policy in order to exploit the opportunities that free trade holds for sustainable development and poverty alleviation, and to reduce risks.


Regional organisations, member states, businesses and civil society implement economic partnership agreements with the European Union in the interest of sustainable development.



On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ provides support in raising awareness and monitoring and measuring results, and promotes dialogue on economic partnership agreements. The project is part of BMZ’s priority area that focuses on international cooperation with regions for sustainable development (ICR).

Awareness raising: GIZ and its partners strengthen the knowledge and skills of the private sector and civil society so that they exploit the potential of the economic partnership agreements and minimise risks – for example, through export promotion measures tailored to the specific needs of the individual regions.

Monitoring and measuring results: The project organises and commissions technical expertise and studies, and offers dialogue forums to discuss the establishment of participatory monitoring systems. In addition, the project supports the roll out of the systems. 

Exchange: The project provides support with the development of supraregional platforms to exchange of experience with and knowledge about EPAs. It works closely with the SADC Secretariat in Botswana and the CARIFORUM Directorate of the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana. Another key partner is the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) in Barbados. The project identifies relevant players and networks in the regions, and brings them together. Furthermore, it assists in the search for events or existing forums that can serve to intensify or initiate dialogue.


The project provided assistance that enabled southern African food and cosmetics exporters to take part in trade fairs in the EU. 

A fact-finding mission arranged for the Caribbean Export Development Agency enabled participants to establish contacts with German organisations involved in promoting trade and investment. One outcome of the mission was the decision to hold the fourth European-Caribbean Economic Forum in Frankfurt in September 2019. 

Discussion forums and training on topics such as regional preferences and safeguards provided information on ways of reducing EPA-related risks.

EPA monitoring and evaluation systems for the individual regions were developed within the scope of participatory dialogue processes. The use of these systems is currently under discussion. The European Commission has expressed an interest in using them to monitor future EPAs.

Additional information