The ninth summit of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) heads of state and governments ended in Nairobi this past week with calls made by members states including Botswana to increase intra-trade.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who led the Botswana delegation including Foreign Affairs Minister – Unity Dow and her Trade counterpart, Peggy Serame, appealed to the ACP member states to make decisions that are transformative because they are implementable.
Masisi said Botswana supports the proposal to formulate an Intra ACP Cooperation Policy Framework and stands ready to work alongside the other ACP Member States and to contribute to the realisation of its concrete objectives.
“Cooperation among ACP countries can contribute in many ways. Not only can it support infrastructure development in a cost-effective way, but it can also promote the transfer of knowledge, policy experiences and technologies necessary for boosting agricultural productivity”, Masisi said.
Masisi further said ACP member states stand to benefit from opening new investment and market opportunities on a more level playing field.
“We should use digitalisation to open intra ACP corridors for a wider choice of services and goods that were previously unavailable or were obtained from the North at a higher cost.”
ACP member states committed to cementing trade ties by purposing to formerly set up air and sea trade links. Kenyan President – Uhuru Kenyatta said the trade links presented a clear opportunity to enable the private sector to generate wealth by leveraging on the bloc’s economic strength.
“The air and sea links will be the first step in realising our trading goal of increasing ACPs share of trade from the current three per cent to 10 per cent in the next 10 years,” said Uhuru.
Kenyatta cited human resource, agricultural industrialisation, entrepreneurship and the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) as well as improved regulatory and institutional frameworks as areas that ACP nations need to focus on in order to grow their economies.
Other areas identified by the Kenyan leader include the creation of an environment that supports innovation and technology transfer and that which promotes private sector-led industrial development.
The two days ACP head of states summit was held under the theme ‘A Transformed ACP: Committed to Multilateralism’ in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi.
The ACP group consists of 79 countries out of which 48 are from sub-Sahara Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific. The economic bloc was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975.