Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 December 2019:
Dr Francis Mustapha Kaikai – Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, who in the absence of president Bio is leading the country’s delegation to the 9th Summit of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Heads of State and Government summit in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday spoke about Sierra Leone’s firm commitment to ‘multilateralism’.
Minister Kaikai said: “The theme for this Summit: A Transformed ACP Group: Committed to Multilateralism” is apt and timely for our organisation. In the last decade or so, our world has experienced a shift in international relations; we are experiencing growing advance towards isolationist policies, away from globalisation which once held the key to global prosperity and eradication of extreme poverty; we now hear calls for the global south to rely more and more on itself and its own resources, etc.
“All this is happening as the world faces more challenges that defy national boundaries – wars, armed conflicts and terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics, global migration, cyber-crimes, transnational crimes, money laundering, and trade wars, among others.
“It is imperative that the ACP Group, as a community of states with shared interests, history, culture and political economies, to deepen our relationships and build a future of solidarity and shared solutions that will transform the lives of our citizens.
“This calls for an all embracing multilateralism that serves as a cornerstone in our relations; it is also a call for deeper relations with the United Nations and our respective regional and sub-regional organisations; it is a call for stronger South-South, intra-ACP Cooperation in diverse fields, even as we continue to strengthen our support to triangular cooperation with the global North, particularly the European Union.”
Furthermore, Sierra Leone, Minister Kaikai said, is a relatively small country that knows the value of multilateralism in peace-making, peacebuilding, sustaining peace and security, fighting disease pandemics such as Ebola, fighting transnational crimes, fighting extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development.
The Minister assured the ACP that Sierra Leone already has a medium term National Development Plan that focuses on Human Capital Development and inclusive economic growth. He said that Sierra Leone needs multilateral support for its implementation, as he used the opportunity to thank all member states of the ACP that have contributed to and will continue to engage in Sierra Leone’s steady progress.
Against this backdrop he reaffirmed Sierra Leone’s commitment to the ideals and aspirations of a transformed ACP, and that Sierra Leone “is committed to Multilateralism, a multilateralism that is truly inclusive that leaves none of our peoples, countries or regions behind.”
Earlier on in the day’s programme, the 9th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government was officially opened by Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyetta as the Head of State of the host country, assumed the presidency of the ACP Group, accepting the gavel from outgoing president, the Davis Madava Steven, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
Secretary General (SG) of the ACP Group, H.E. Dr. Patrick I Gomes, in his welcome statement, spoke on the theme of the Summit, “A Transformed ACP Committed to Multilateralism”, concluding, “The ACP – transformed and reinvented – looks to the continuation of your renewed guidance and wise counsel, as we enable a multilateralism rooted in everyday life and embedded to principles of justice and democratic governance.”
Seventeen heads of state and 70 of the 79 ACP Member States were in attendance at the Opening. Delegates from across the six ACP Regions and around the world attended the historical ceremony which was dominated by themes of unity and climate change.
First to the podium following the handover was Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana (Photo), who represented the African region of the ACP Group.
Citing several of the challenges such as poverty and marginalisation facing the ACP Group, the Ghanaian President urged a unified approach and strengthening of the cooperation to successfully address the challenges.
Ms. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, representing the Caribbean region, spoke tough, asking if the ACP wants to remain a relic of the past or pursue a fast track to the future, cautioning, “We ACP must function on our own terms, not on the terms set by others.”
Mrs. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), also spoke about the challenges imposed by climate change, and thanked outgoing SG Gomes for his stewardship of the ACP.
Representing the European Union (EU), the ACP Group’s long term partner, newly-elected EU Commissioner responsible for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, who commented that it is only in the dictionary that “I” came before “We”, spoke warmly of the value of partnerships and the strength of the unique partnership between the EU and the ACP Group.
In his inaugural statement as the new head of the ACP, President Kenyatta expressed his gratitude to the outgoing chairman for his sterling leadership in ensuring that the Group remains vibrant and relevant.
Also representing Sierra Leone at the ACP summit are: the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Solomon Jamiru; the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Samuel Tamba Musa; Peter Joseph Francis, the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya; the Director of European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs Sia Annie Tejan; the Director of Development Assurance and Coordination Office (DACO), Mr Kawusu Kebbay; the Minister Plenipotentiary Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya and Delegation Coordinator, Mr Abdul Karim Kargbo; and the Head of Chancery Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya, Mrs Juliana SH Fallah. (Photo above).
ACP is an organization created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. 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.