The SADC-EU Partnership Agreement: Mozambique
Mozambique became a formal signatory of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), between European Union (EU) member countries on September 16, 2016. The Republic of Mozambique was one of six Sub-Saharan African countries that were exclusively included in what represents a milestone trade deal between the EU and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).This paper is a response to this milestone development and sets out to explain the particularities of the Republic of Mozambique within this EPA context and the implications of the provisions set in this 2000+ page agreement. The research paper aims to give voice to some of the obscure underlying arguments, which if not unpacked, could give the impression that the agreement is a seamless progressive step towards development and modernity. The paper also locates its argument within a post-colonial context, with emphasis on the loaded skewed power dynamics between the agreement parties. Among these conjectures are the realities of EU representing an economic international power-block dating back to the Rome Agreement of 1957, juxtaposed with the Republic of Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony with a developing economy emerging from years of civil war, that comes to the table as a single entity. The paper begins with an overview of Mozambique’s current economic, social and political climate. This is followed by an analysis of articles of the agreement, particularly those that speak directly to Mozambique. We also discuss key concerns arising out of the projected execution of the deal by both parties. This section will explore best possible alternatives (if any) for Mozambique to the current 2016 signed EPA, with emphasis on the agreement’s envisaged impact on the population’s pervasive poverty status. The final part of the paper is an analysis of existing institutions, particularly in Mozambique and their ability to foster an enabling environment. This will not only ensure that the European market is served, but also speak to issues of poverty alleviation, equity and equality – a cultivation and adoption of development processes that put Mozambican people first. The paper concludes by turning to the existing Non-State Actors (NSA) at local, regional and international levels, including those from the other six countries that are party to the SADC EPA agreement, to ascertain their current role within the existing EPA, while also exploring further possibilities within this framework. Also included are the lessons that can be drawn from NSAs in other Regional Economic Communities (REC) within the EPA context.