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WAI participates in the commemorations of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of the ACP Group

OuvertureOn the invitation of the Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP Group), HE Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, the Director General of WAI participated in the Symposium commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the organization which central theme was «From Georgetown Sipopo and beyond», held on 4 and 5 June 2015 at the ACP House, Brussels, Belgium.

The ACP Group which currently counts 79 member States and approximately 900 million people, was created June 6, 1975 in Georgetown (Guyana) in order to: i) consolidate and strengthen solidarity and unity existing within the ACP Group; ii) promote and develop greater and closer commercial, economic, political, social and cultural relations between the ACP States; iii) contribute to the establishment of a new world order more just and equitable.

ACP Secretary GeneralThe Symposium which presented a great variety of performances by musicians and artists from the ACP countries, was attended by the President of the UN General Assembly, HE Samuel Kutesa, the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of States of the West Africa (ECOWAS), His Excellency Kadre Desiré Ouedraogo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Comoros, HE Abdulkarim Mohamed, the Deputy Minister of Planning of Haiti, HE Michel Presume, ACP Ambassadors, the Ambassadors of Turkey, Brazil and India accredited to Belgium, the Vice-Chairman of the G7 + International, representatives of the European Union, the representative of the Turkish presidency of the G20, and the Directors of African research institutes based in Africa and Europe.

«Our goal within the ACP Group is to draw a strategic way through which we can achieve the greatest impact. But to do so, we must clearly rely on a variety of partnerships. Summarizing, the ACP Group must make its voice heard in the global arena and at the United Nations, and also calls for complementarity with our regional organizations», said ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes at this historical Meeting.

President ECOWAS CommissionThe intervention of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the theme «Ensuring the financial viability of international organizations: the case of ECOWAS» was eagerly awaited. HE Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo explained essentially that the ECOWAS budget was funded for more than 85% thanks to the community levy, a mechanism that has strengthened the credibility of the Organization internationally. He stressed the urgency of diversifying partnerships, as stated in the declaration of Sipopo, while emphasizing the urgent need to promote intra-ACP cooperation. Basically, the President of the ECOWAS Commission added that the long-term financing allows for sufficient own resources to meet the many challenges that the region is facing. He also thanked all international partners, particularly the ACP States and the Republic of Cuba for their effective support in the fight against Ebola. On matters of peace and security, President Ouédraogo expressed the arrangements at ECOWAS level to fight against terrorism and prevent conflict and advocated for inter-regional cooperation, especially with the countries of the Economic Community of States of the Central Africa (ECCAS).

Intervention Prof.TraoreIn her contribution on "The Impact of globalization and the perspectives for small States", the Director General of WAI emphasized the originality of the Georgetown Agreement which incorporates in November 1992 the basic principles of human dignity, human rights, the rights of peoples, the notions of interdependence, complementarity and mutual benefit on the basis of social and cultural values.

The 7th Summit of the Heads of States and Government of ACP, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on 13 and 14 December 2012, resulted in the Sipopo declaration on «The future of the ACP Group in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities», stressing that the Organization was now at a crossroads and had to take relevant decisions for its future development.

Prof Traore Presinting at ACPIntroducing the subject, Prof. Djénéba Traoré gave the definition of the concept of "globalization" which process would have begun several thousand years before our era. The process has undergone many changes and gave then birth to anti-globalization movements, hostile to the principles of globalization.

She then gave an overview of the impact of globalization on the small States stating that no definition existed a priori of the meaning of a «small State». Based on a 2002 study conducted by FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) and involving 36 small states entitled "Small developing countries; characteristics and vulnerability "(http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y3733f/y3733f0e.htm), she listed the characteristics of «small States», including:

  • a small population, which rules out the possibility of economies of scale and labor specialization;
  • a narrow resource base, which creates a dependence on imports of consumer goods and capital goods and exposing the economy to natural disasters and hazards; and
  • a high concentration of exports in a small number of primary products of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and mining, making small developing countries vulnerable to fluctuations in production and prices.

Turning to the last point, namely «The perspectives of small states facing globalization», she took the example of the Republic of Cabo Verde to illustrate the strategies implemented by the state to position itself as a middle-income country despite the consequences the global economic and financial crisis of 2008.

Representative Cabo VerdeAccording to the report of the African Development Bank (AfDB) entitled «Cape Verde a Success Story», published in November 2012, on the political level, the Cab Verdean State has a successful democratic transition and is now cited on the African continent as an example of good governance and transparency in financial and accounting management. According to the report, the Government of Cabo Verde has acquired international credibility vis-à-vis its macroeconomic policies by establishing a financial system free of corruption. This healthy business climate has helped to attract the confidence of investors and proved conducive to the establishment of strong partnerships.

The country's economy is largely based on tourism, fishing and agriculture. Thanks to the good results achieved in the economic sphere, the state is now among the middle-income countries. The report of the African Development Bank shows essentially that: "Despite a difficult start, Cape Verde ranks fifth sub-Saharan African countries in the ranking of the human development index (HDI). Its rapid progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) exceeds that of most other sub-Saharan countries. Cape Verde has achieved the goal of universal access to primary and secondary education, and has built a strong social safety net. Moreover, the benefits of growth were distributed through an inclusive approach to policy development and nation building. "

The Government has undertaken in 2011 under the auspices of Prime Minister HE José Maria Neves, a process leading to the design of his vision for an emergent Cabo Verde by the year 2030. A national forum on long-term economic transformations was organized in 2014 in Praia with strong participation of the diaspora.

The clearly expressed ambition is to make the country a modern economy, developed and diversified that is no longer dependent on external aid. To give shape to the project, the key stakeholders were identified and an appeal was launched to Cab Verdean economic operators for investing in their countries in order to support growth.

In conclusion, the Director General of WAI made the following recommendations:

  • The importance of effective leadership to design a short, medium and long term strategic vision based on a strategic plan at national, regional and global level.
  • The establishment of an independent, credible and fair justice.
  • The training of quality human resources for sustainable development.
  • The principle of solidarity so that small States benefit from legislative and regulatory measures from the most advantaged States, that can help them cope with the stresses of globalization.
  • The establishment of strong cooperation relationships.
  • The use of information and communications technology (ICT) in all sectors.
  • Capacity building of different stakeholders on the one hand, a better knowledge on the one hand the concept of the process of globalization, on the other hand on the geopolitical culture of the North.
  • The improvement of negotiation skills with partner States, in particular with regard to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and multinational companies regarding exploitation contracts of their natural resources, in order to impose a «win-win» partnership.

Finally, Prof. Traoré considered necessary to empower citizens on efforts to deploy individually and collectively, these being motivated by the growing difficulty to get development aid.

For more information on the Symposium, please visit the ACP Secretariat website by going to: http://www.acp.int/
Kindly find here the agenda of the meeting

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