The ninth summit of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) heads of state and government opened in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, December 9, with a call for the establishment of a robust multilateral system to promote fair trade practices 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.
The Summit is themed “A Transformed ACP: Committed to Multilateralism.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in his opening remarks that a rule-based world order should be strengthened in order to boost action on pressing challenges like poverty, conflicts, violent extremism and climate change.
“Today’s multi-polar world is characterized by competing geopolitical interests, new challenges to peace, security and movement of people. However, we remain committed to becoming a beacon of hope for multilateralism,” Kenyatta is quoted as saying.
The ACP is one of the largest groupings of countries of the South. It was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975 (amended in 2003) and its 79 members comprise 48 Sub-Saharan States, as well as 15 Pacific and 16 Caribbean states.
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) has governed the ACP’s relations with the European Union (EU), which is due to expire in 2020. The Agreement is built on three pillars: trade and economic cooperation, development assistance and political dialogue that focus on issues such as human rights and democratic governance.
The ACP Group of States is currently undertaking negotiations with the EU on a new ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which is scheduled to conclude in the first quarter of 2020.
It is expected that the 9th ACP Summit will note and endorse the progress thus far of the post-Cotonou negotiations for a new ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.
The Summit will also consider the adoption of the revised Georgetown Agreement. The Nairobi Declaration will be adopted by Heads of State and Governments and will provide strategic political direction on ACP matters until the next Summit.
The ACP Group’s main goals centre around the sustainable development of its Member-States and their gradual integration into the global economy; coordination of the activities of the ACP Group in the framework of the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreements; consolidation of unity and solidarity among ACP States and establishing and consolidating peace and stability in a free and democratic society.