The WpAs, as provided for in the Cotonou Agreement, should build on and encourage regional integration processes in ACP countries. Existing ACP regional groups served as the basis for WpA negotiations. However, because of the overlapping membership of several African regional economic communities (REC), countries had to make a decision. With the exception of ECOWAS and EAC, which are in a more advanced state of integration (they have a customs union), the other African ICCs have not negotiated with all their members. The countries that were negotiated as East and South Africa (ESA), including 11 members. It is important to note that two COMESA members, Egypt and Libya, are non-ACP countries and therefore did not participate in the EPA negotiations. The other Comea states negotiated under the CDAA (Swaziland), the ABC (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) or Central Africa (DRC). Similarly, the SADC EPA group consisted of 7 of the 15 members. Among these, the South African Customs Union (SACU), a customs union, was negotiated as a group when South Africa participated in the negotiations in 2007. The others negotiated in Central Africa (DRC), eAC (Tanzania) and ESA (Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In Central Africa, the EPA group has a total of 8 members. These are the six members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), a customs union, namely Gabon, Cameroon, because, Chad, the Rep. of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, as well as two other countries, the DRC (not cemac, but a member of the Economic Community of Central African States – ECCAS, SADC and COMESA) and Sao Tome and Principe (observer only in CEMAC and member of CECAS).
West Africa negotiates with the 15th and ECOWAS member (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo) and Mauritania. East Africa negotiated as a bloc within the East African community under ESA until 2006 and from 2007 as an independent group with its 5 members. Free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement provide for duty-free trade in goods and services between nations and the removal of other trade barriers. Economic partnership agreements contain the same provisions as a free trade agreement, but go beyond free trade agreements.