The EU is implementing seven Economic Partnership Agreements with 32 partners, including 14 in Africa. The main objective of epas is to use trade and investment for sustainable development. The content of the agenda will be broadened, with agreements covering new topics such as services and investment. On Monday, January 13, French President Emmanuel Macron met with the leaders of five West African Sahel countries – Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania, known as the G5 – to discuss the advance of armed Islamist extremists in the region, deny anti-French hostility in these countries and determine France`s future commitment to the region`s security. At the end of the summit, France pledged to send 220 additional troops to the Sahel to fight terrorism, in addition to the 4,500 French soldiers currently deployed in the area as part of Operation Barkhane. France has also agreed to implement an intelligence exchange agreement and an integrated military command structure with the G5 countries. G5 leaders said they welcomed France`s support. The security situation in the Sahel has deteriorated in recent months. For example, the Nigerian army chief was sacked on January 14 after at least 174 Nigerian security forces were killed by Islamist extremists in December and January. In Burkina Faso, jihadists killed 35 civilians and a dozen soldiers in subsequent attacks in December.
In Mali, both Islamist extremism and ethnic violence contribute to insecurity; On Thursday, 16 January, 14 civilians were killed in an ethnic attack. Among other things, WAEMU has successfully implemented macroeconomic convergence criteria and an effective surveillance mechanism. It adopted a customs union and a common rate of external duties and combined indirect taxation regulations and initiated regional structural and sectoral policies. A September 2002 IMF survey described WAEMU as “the most advanced on the path to integration” of all regional formations in Africa.  ECOWAS also serves as a peacekeeping force in the region, with member states occasionally decreeing joint forces to intervene in bloc member states in times of political instability and unrest. In recent years, these have been interventions in Côte d`Ivoire in 2003, Liberia in 2003, Guinea-Bissau in 2012, Mali in 2013 and Gambia in 2017.   Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions. This month, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), made up of English-speaking countries from West Africa and Guinea, condemned, in response to the agreement, WAEMU`s decision to unilaterally rename the currency. In a statement, WAMZ members said the change in the name of the CFA franc was not in line with the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to introduce eco as the name of an independent single currency.
They also called for an extraordinary summit of ECOWAS leaders to discuss the issue. Organisations such as the World Bank and the UN Conference on Trade and Development have come out in favour of the agreement. In a July report titled “The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects,” the World Bank said the AfCFTA is an important opportunity for countries to promote growth, reduce poverty, and improve economic inclusion, which can mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on Africa. . . .