A full economic partnership agreement between the European Union and seven members of the Southern African Development Community seems to be a distant goal as negotiations between parties involved remain in gridlock, a private consulting firm observes.
Representatives of the EU and the seven African countries met in July in Brussels to set a new end-of-2010 deadline to produce a full agreement but Oxford Analytica is pessimistic that the deadline will be met.
The firm explains that only four of the seven African countries have signed the interim agreement reached in June 2009. These countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.
The original deadline for concluding the agreement was December 2007. It has been moved several times because of procedural problems and disputes over the content and language of the agreement, Oxford Analytic has noted in an article on Forbes Magazine.