INTERVENTION BY H.E. ADAMA BARROW
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
DURING THE PLENARY DEBATE ON THE REPORT PRESENTED BY
MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT, CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION OF THE AFRICAN UNION (AUC) ON THE AFRICAN COMMON POSITION ON ACP POST-2020
DURING THE 31ST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE & GOVERNMENT OF THE AU
HELD IN NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA
FROM 1ST TO 2ND JULY, 2018
Allow me to observe that engagements with our development partners, through our institutional mechanisms, will enable us to address the various issues that are critical to sustainable growth and development on the African Continent.
The relationship with the EU has resulted in many important interventions that are essential for the achievements of our development agendas. Therefore, the strengthening of the AU-EU relationship is a step in the right direction. Indeed, it is crucial that a well-formulated institutional platform is developed for our effective engagement.
During the 5th AU-EU Summit, we committed ourselves to addressing critical issues jointly, such as terrorism, money laundering, spread of small arms, human smuggling and trafficking, climate change, technological innovations, resource mobilization and sustaining global peace.
Africa’s position in international politics has evolved, and our desire to be treated as an important global partner is well-grounded. Consequently, I applaud, with sincere appreciation, the diverse bilateral, regional and continental platforms through which we are engaging the EU in the ongoing negotiations.
We value the relationship and the opportunities created and, therefore, call on our negotiators to take due cognizance of the roles being played by our Regional Economic Communities (RECs), in addition to the bilateral and development arrangements with the EU in the final outcome.
It is equally important that our cultural and political ties with our friends in the Caribbean and the Pacific countries are maintained and strengthened.
Quite clearly, the challenges facing Africa are peculiar to the continent. Ranking high among such common challenges are drought and desertification, migration and human trafficking or smuggling, which has been made acute due to our proximity to Europe.
Therefore, new models for mutually beneficial cooperation need to be devised, preferably through the existing Partnership Frameworks.
Africa has evolved since the Cotono Agreement was signed with the EU and the ACP countries. We now yearn for increased economic growth and sustainable development in the context of Agenda 2063. As a result, it is urgent to review current arrangements with Strategic Partners and, where necessary, undertake to champion new forms and types of relationships with them. This is necessary, as we live in a constantly and rapidly evolving political, economic and financial environment.
I thank the African Union Commission Chairperson, Faki Mahamat, for his eloquent presentation and detailed progress report on our Common African Position, the nature of engagement with the EU Post 2020 and on the status of the negotiations with the EU.
To conclude, I commend the Ministers, the Permanent Representatives in Addis Ababa, Geneva and Brussels, as well as the Experts, for diligently formulating the Common African Position.
I thank you all for your attention.