Lusaka, Zambia, 19-21th October, 2006

CUTS-ARC is organising a Regional Dialogue on the above subject during 19-21 October, 2006 in Lusaka. The purpose of the dialogue is to debate the development value of the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) with the European Union for Sub-Saharan African countries by considering the progress made so far and various proposals on the table for further trade and investment liberalisation. This regional dialogue also offers an opportunity to assess and benchmark the development component of EPAs in relation to the national and regional development plans/strategies.

The Policy Dialogue is expected to take stock of the progress of the EPA negotiations and how it impacts the business and development opportunities of countries in the region. The context and background of the regional dialogue steamed from the need to address and define specific development concerns of EPAs and difficulties that government and non state actors face in proactively engaging the negotiation process.

Some of the themes for discussion at the dialogue include:

Inputs into the formal review process of EPAs as envisaged in the Cotonou Agreement

Evolve consensus among the key stakeholders on benchmarking development component to be agreed up on asses the policy coherence of the EPA at national and regional level

Strengthen capacity of non state actors and trade negotiators to effectively engage on the linkages between trade, development and poverty reduction

The regional dialogue will provide an opportunity to share experiences of NSAs including the outcomes of the project titled “capacity-building of non state actors during the EPA negotiations” implemented by CUTS in six countries viz. Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia since 2005.
The regional dialogue therefore will provide a forum to debate and contribute to the development component of the proposed EPA, considering that negotiations are at crucial stage. This dialogue involving non state actors and policy makers is key for checks and balances and identifying a critical assessment of the negotiation priorities. It also provides an opportunity to benchmark on development parameters in the proposed agreement.

Tentative Agenda
Press Release