Niger has announced the creation of a national steering committee charged with negotiations for an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between West African states and the European Union (EU).
The committee, which was made public Thursday, will be presided by Nigerian trade, industry and standardization minister Habi Mahamadou Salissou.
According to the minister, Nigeriens must assume ownership of EPA "in order to harmonize it with our development policy, as West African leaders had asked negotiators to make sure EPA is dotted with sustainable development instruments to eradicate poverty."
"We must therefore support regional integration initiatives, preserve vested interests with regard to accessing European market in terms of exports, and be compatible with international trade regulations," he said.
Furthermore, the minister said as far as development is concerned, EPA can attract substantial resources to West African countries thanks to European development fund (EDF).