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2008 AEC - Bilateral investment treaties between ECOWAS and European Union Countries: lessons for the economic partnership agreement


West African countries are currently engaged in trade and investment negotiations with the European Union (EU) to make their economic cooperation of over three decades reciprocal within the context of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). During the Lome Conventions which previously characterized ACP-EU relations, one of the instruments of economic relations is bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that West African countries individually signed to access cutting-edge technologies alongside unilateral liberalisation of investment regimes and the preferential trade and investment agreements (PTIAs) in the context of the Lome. The impact of BITs on FDI flows is not clear in the literature, hence, this paper investigates the extent to which BITs and RTIAs triggered investment flows between West African countries and the European Union countries with a view to motivating the investment component of the EPA given that investment as one of the Singapore issues was removed from WTO’s Doha Round. It is found that BITs attracted EU investments to West African countries while the Lome Conventions did not, suggesting that West African countries need to scrutinise more closely the EU EPA-related investment agreements and negotiate development-oriented outcomes accordingly.

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