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ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: REFLECTION DOCUMENT FOR CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and the European Union (EU) interact in various ways. Trade is at the centre of this relationship and/or interaction. A total of seven conventions f cooperation have been signed to regulate the relationship that exists between the ACP states and the EU. These include the Yaoundé (1964 and 1968), Lomé (1975, 1979, 1984 and 1990) and Cotonou (2000) conventions. The emergence of these conventions inaugurated a new approach to the north-south partnership which associates trade preferences with development aid. The overriding condition of these conventions is mainly free access to the European market for exports from ACP countries. This system, on one hand, is “preferential” because it favours ACP countries more than other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On the other hand,the system is “non-reciprocal” or “unilateral”, since the advantages that the ACP countries enjoy cannot be returned.

SIERRA LEONE: CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE 2007 ELECTIONS

Civil society activism in Sierra Leone has a long history; indeed as an integral part of democratic expression in a modern state, it is probably the oldest in English‐speaking West Africa. Sierra Leone produced West Africa’s first newspaper, the Royal Gazette and Sierra Leone Advertiser, in 1801, as well as the region’s first lawyers and modern legal system, all in the nineteenth century. These two core institutions – legal and journalism – have been active in the country throughout its modern existence, surviving the colonial period, one‐party state, coups, and a brutal ‘rebel’ war; and sometimes acting, in the absence of viable political opposition/parties, as representatives of ordinary, ‘voiceless’ people.

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