Kenya to Host First Africa – Caricom Summit



Theme: Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration

History will be made next week Tuesday 7th September 2021, when Kenya virtually hosts the first ever African – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit. The theme of the Summit will be Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration. It is aimed at promoting closer collaboration between Africa Diaspora, People of African descent and the Caribbean and Pacific region and its institutions. The Summit will be Chaired by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It will bring 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, Chairs of Africa Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the CARICOM Troika, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Secretary General of the Organization of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the President of 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 strengthen these linkages and adopted a declaration on Promoting closer collaboration between People of African Decent in the Caribbean and Pacific Regions. The 2020 CARICOM Summit of Heads of State and Government also recognized the increasing contact between its Member States and African Countries.

The Summit is therefore aimed at actualizing 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.

Debt sustainability and development financing; trade investment and economic integration; blue economy and transport connectivity; fintech related solutions; political integration between Africa and Caribbean countries; people to people contacts and cultural exchanges; COVID-19 pandemic management and AU-CARRICOM collaboration, will be among the thematic focus areas to be discussed at the Summit.

It is expected that 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.

In addressing the COVID 19 scourge the summit will seek to reach at, 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 galvanize voluntary commitments by individual countries and other stakeholders to establish the AU-CARICOM Secretariat and institutionalize 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 meeting is being held nearly Five hundred years after the commencement of the displacement of enslaved Africans to the Caribbean and Seventy-six years after the seminal 5th Pan-African Congress that was held in Manchester, England in 1945, and that brought together the political activists of Africa and the Caribbean to conceive plans to bring about the decolonization of these two regions.

The Summit is also taking place Fifty-eight years since the 1963 establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Fifty-three years after the founding of 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 — virtual though it may be — discussing their common origin, history, concerns and objectives, and planning a brighter future of collaboration and solidarity.

It is also is 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.

September 3, 2021

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