Lost in a Spaghetti Bowl? Mega-regional trade agreements, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Future of the WTO

Author(s): 
Eveline Herfkens

Introduction

In 2015 the international community was supposed to lay the foundation for multilateral action of major importance for the future of developing countries and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) trade. The 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December in Nairobi, the first held in SSA, generated much hope among developing countries that the promise of the Doha Development Agenda  (DDA) agreed to in 2001 would be finally realized. 

Yet, while the WTO Ministerial Conference produced some results, the real action in 2015 was in the progress made in mega-regional trade arrangements involving primarily developed countries, specifically in the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), both of which have potentially adverse effects on low-income developing
countries. 

This paper will begin by exploring the implications of the mega-regional agreements for the future of the WTO and will go on to recommend a
number of steps that developed countries can take to mitigate the negative impact of these agreements on developing countries, with a focus on TTIP and subSaharan Africa.