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Uhuru to chair Caribbean Community Summit

By Patrick Vidija | September 4th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to chair Caribbean Community Summit on Tuesday next week.

The virtual summit dubbed Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration aims at promoting closer collaboration between Africa Diaspora, People of African descent and the Caribbean and Pacific region and its institutions.

A press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that the summit will aim at actualising the mutual aspirations of both the Union and Community by promoting ties and engagement between its peoples, addressing the economic and communication challenges, fostering continent to continent integration, accessing the progress in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and launching of collaboration between African and Caribbean regional continental organizations.

It brings together Heads of State and Government of the African Union and the Caribbean Community Member States, as well as Chair of the African Union Commission and Chairs of Africa Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

Others include the CARICOM Troika, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Secretary-General of the Organization of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the President of the Caribbean Development Bank.

This arises from the 33rd Session (2020) of the African Union which affirmed the strong cultural and historical linkages between the people of Africa and Africa Diaspora and all people of African descent.

The session committed to strengthening these linkages and adopted a declaration on Promoting closer collaboration between People of African Descent in the Caribbean and Pacific Regions.

Debt sustainability and development financing, trade investment and economic integration, blue economy and transport connectivity, fintech related solutions and political integration between Africa and Caribbean countries will be among the thematic focus areas to be discussed at the Summit.

Other areas of focus include people to people contacts and cultural exchanges, Covid-19 pandemic management and AU-CARRICOM collaboration.

The Ministry said the Summit will also build momentum and support for the formation of the Africa-Brazil- Caribbean Development Commission and provide political goodwill and affirmation for activities aimed at forging closer ties with the African Diaspora and People of African Descent.

“Key outcomes of the Africa- CARICOM Summit will include among others, an integrated greater economic trade and investment commitment between Africa and the Caribbean; and solidarity actions to address global challenges including Covid-19 pandemic and climate change,” the statement read.

According to MFA, in addressing the Covid-19 scourge, the summit will seek to reach and catalyse key strategic decisions and actions to insulate developing countries from the scourge of Covid-19 as well as target availability and distribution of vaccines and sharing of best practices in Africa and the Caribbean.

It is anticipated that the summit will galvanise voluntary commitments by individual countries and other stakeholders to establish the AU-CARICOM Secretariat and institutionalise African Union – CARICOM collaboration.

It is also expected that the Summit will resolve to host the Summits of the African - CARICOM Heads of State and Government bi- annually.

The Summit is taking place Fifty-eight years since the 1963 establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Fifty-three years after the founding of the Caribbean Free Trade Organization (CARIFTA) and Forty-eight years after the establishment of CARICOM.

The Heads of Government of Africa and the Caribbean Community will also be sitting down around a table discussing their common origin, history, concerns and objectives, and planning a brighter future of collaboration and solidarity.

“It is also anticipated that the deliberations will lead to multiple initiatives of unity, collaboration, institution building, and people-to-people exchanges between AFRICA and the CARIBBEAN as the top leadership from both two regions come together under the new initiative,” the statement read.

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