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Vote 'In' for Africa

In a letter to the Telegraph today, Chairman of the European Think Tanks group Simon Maxwell, debunks a common myth of Leave campaigners - that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) hurts African farmers:

SIR – James Cleverly, the Eurosceptic Tory MP, says that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and EU trade tariffs “keep African farmers in poverty”. He believes that over-production in the EU depresses world prices, and that coffee exporters face a tariff on exports of processed but not unprocessed beans.

The latter argument is simply wrong. Most African coffee exporters have duty-free and quota-free access to the EU for all exports under various preferential trade agreements, including the Everything But Arms initiative for the poorest countries.

As for the CAP, successive reforms have greatly reduced commodity-specific production and export subsidies, and therefore the potential for disadvantage to Africa. A bigger issue is the capacity to trade. Only 5 per cent of African countries’ $35 billion (£24 billion) food import bill is met by intra-regional trade.

The EU is the world’s leading provider of “aid for trade”. Britain is a progressive voice on these issues in the EU, arguing for faster internal reform of the CAP, and for greater support to African agriculture.

People who care about Africa should vote to remain in the EU.

Simon Maxwell
Chairman, European Think Tanks Group
Brighton, East Sussex