The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are World Trade Organisation (WTO) compatible trading arrangements negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries. The EPAs replace existing trade arrangements between the EU and ACP. Under EPAs, ACP countries are expected to remove tariffs on 'substantially all' imports from the EU.
The report questions whether these agreements, based on the idea of reciprocal market access, will bring about positive changes for women's lives in Southern Africa. The research shows that EPAs will not be gender neutral. They will impact women's and men's livelihoods in different ways due to gender inequalities in access to resources, employment, markets and decision-making. This report acknowledges that it is much too early to know what the actual impact of EPAs on women's livelihoods will be because no finalised EPA exists.
The research therefore set out to examine the likely impact of EPAs by analysing women's involvement in three key sectors: sugar in Mozambique, beef in Namibia and cut flowers in Zambia. It makes recommendations on how to integrate gender analysis more systematically in regional trade negotiations and agreements in order to ensure that such agreements promote women's rights and gender equality.
Khan, Z. Making Trade Work for Women. The Likely Impact of the Economic Partnership Agreements on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. (2006) 26 pp. ISBN 1 898776 636