Sustainable implementation of EU Economic Partnership Agreements

Project description

Title: Supporting sustainability aspects in the implementation of EU Economic Partnership Agreements through critical observation of their execution
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Regions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM)
Overall term: 2020 to 2024



When the Lomé Convention expired, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states held negotiations with the European Union (EU) on new partnerships to 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 combat poverty, promote regional integration in the partner regions, and link trade policy with development instruments.

In 2008, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with CARIFORUM (Caribbean Community countries and the Dominican Republic). In the Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESA), five states have provisionally applied an interim agreement: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe have done so since 2012, and Comoros since 2019. Six Southern African Development Community (SADC) states – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa – also concluded an agreement with the EU in 2016.

Governments, businesses, and civil society must have the skills, resources and capabilities to implement the provisions of an EPA appropriately and to review their social, environmental and economic impact. Implementation must be supported by an appropriate development policy so that states are able to exploit the opportunities that free trade offers sustainable development and measures to combat poverty and to reduce risks.


Regional organisations, member states, civil society and the private sector are implementing EU Economic Partnership Agreements, thereby contributing to sustainable development.



On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is providing support for sustainable implementation and for monitoring and measuring the impact of Economic Partnership Agreements. The project also supports cross-regional interaction between the three regions.

Better implementation: GIZ and its partners strengthen the knowledge and skills of government representatives, civil society and the private sector to exploit the potential of Economic Partnership Agreements and minimise risks. This includes, for example, training on the application of protective mechanisms and export promotion measures tailored to the specific needs of the individual regions.

Monitoring and measuring results: The project organises and commissions technical expertise and research and provides dialogue forums on the establishment of participatory monitoring systems. It also ensures greater involvement by civil society and supports rollout of systems.

Exchange: The project provides support for the development of supraregional exchange platforms on EPAs, identifying relevant players and networks in the regions, and brings them together. Furthermore, it assists in identifying events or existing forums that can help initiate or intensify dialogue. 

Last update: June 2023