Since 2008 the EU and the AKP states have been negotiating a new free trading agreement called EPA. In the already agreed text, each East African Country ought to have opened up 82.6% of its market over a period of 15 years.
Worried that their domestic markets would be flooded with European goods, many African countries resisted the EPA. Liz May, head of policy at Traidcraft, says: “EU imports could compete with domestic industries [such as] dairy, agriculture; those products from Europe could be subsidised in different ways at the European end.”
There are major concerns that this agreement would, in fact, stand in the way of development. Andrew Mold, The UN´s economic analyst for East Africa, said: “ African countries cannot compete with an economy like Germany´s . As a result, free trade and the EU imports endanger existing industries and future industries do not even materialise because they are exposed to competition from the EU.”
When Kenya´s president Kenyatta refused to sign the agreement, Europe imposed tariffs on Kenya’s cut flowers, potentially making their blooms significantly more expensive than those grown on European soil. As the cut flower industry started to feel the pain, Nairobi snapped and signed the contract.
Daniel “Mbutch” Muhuni, Agnieszka Krzeminska and I met in Nairobi recently to conduct several interviews with small scale farmers, economists and politicians.
We recorded their personal stories and their thoughts about EPA. As the next step we are going to work on a new record based on the recorded material.
Our decision to realize this project is driven by the conviction that a musical preparation of this highly political topic will attract more attention than a conventional political documentary.
In the light of the current refugee debate this topic is highly relevant in our opinion. The example of the EPA negotiations between the EU and Kenya shows how the commercial policy by the EU sometimes leads to a lack of economic perspectives and poverty in countries like Kenya, which turns into a continuously increasing influx of refugees.
The project is supported by the Goethe-Institut.