The ninth summit of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) heads of state and government opened in Nairobi on Monday 9th December, 2019 with a call for the establishment of a robust multilateral system to promote fair trade and hasten inclusive growth, peace and stability in the global south. Seventeen heads of state and 70 of the 79 ACP Member States were in attendance at the Opening.
The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) private sector and entrepreneurs are pushing for increased intra-ACP trade to boost economic development and industrialization. Speaking during ACP private sector forum, the group recommended the reduction of trade barriers for members’ states.
“The private sector provides an essential framework for the ACP economic development programmes as well as promoting productivity by bringing down barriers to doing business and investing in human resources and economic development,” Richard Ngatia, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kncci) said. “Today, as the private sector, we urge the ACP governments to work more closely with the private sector to help reduce some of the difficulties at hand.”
Mr. Ng’atia emphasized on the need to build capacities to produce goods and services to support ACP intra-trade and for export to improve global competitiveness. “Our priority should be to grow trade and create opportunities for the many SMEs in the ACP nations to grow their businesses and be part of the global value chains through Intra ACP trade,” He added.
To support Youth Employment and Enterprise Development, the private sector recommended the need to develop and promote national skills, strategies and programmes for the future of the workforce through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) forums.
Chamber president called for a structured partnership s and collaboration to prepare young people for the job market. Vocational training was identified as the ideal route for developing the required skills for employment. Unemployment has been named as one of the key factors contributing to crime and other social ills especially in the big cities where a majority of young people do not have jobs.
H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya outlined six key focus areas that need revamping in order to jump-start industrial transformation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member countries. The president cited the human resource, agricultural industrialization, 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.
Since the 8th Summit in Papua New Guinea, significant developments have taken place which are reshaping the engagements between ACP Member States and the wider world. These changes imperatively call for the ACP Group to redefine its position and role with its traditional and potential development partners both internationally and regionally.
The objectives of the 9th ACP Summit Were:
• To endorse the outcome of the negotiations for a new 20-year ACP-EU Partnership Agreement;
• To review results and impacts of the work of the Group since 2016 and take stock of the implementation of the commitments made at the 8th Summit;
• To consider and adopt the revisions to the ACP’s Constitutive Act, the Georgetown Agreement;
• To provide political guidance on the way in which the Group redefines its vision and role to advance multilateralism;
• To give political leadership and guidance on ACP institutional structures to achieve sustainable development through Agenda 2030.
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