Kigali,17 November 2019/ACP: Lawmakers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries convening in Kigali on Saturday pushed for a strong Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) parliamentary network and particularly emphasized the need for their European counterparts to respect the dignity of Africa.
The decision was made during the preliminary session of the 55th session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly ahead of the ACP-European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly that starts next week to address issues related to sustainable development.
Speaking to Sunday Times on Saturday, lawmakers reiterated calls for a partnership of equals already made by their colleagues regarding making the ACP, as an institution, more credible and more forceful as regards Africa’s interests.
Abjourouvi Yawovi Missiame, a delegate from Togo said the meeting is a good opportunity “to make our contribution and to be in equal position” with the Europeans.
Missiame said: “We don’t want to see African values being put down. Africa must be respected and in an organisation like this we have to prove that we are Africans who are proud of our dignity and we have to make our point of view get respected by our friends from Europe”.
He noted that ACP lawmakers are now, unlike before, insisting on respect and having their voices heard seriously and don’t accept that things will be guided by the Europeans.
“In the past, they accepted the orders proposed to them but now they refuse. They want equality and fairness. I strongly associate myself with my colleagues from other countries like Gabon or Gambia who spoke urging for the restoration of African dignity.”
Weidou Adjedoue from Madagascar said: “I am fully in favour of what has been said so far, about the dignity and respect to African members in the ACP-EU. We have talked about the rules but that is just an instrument to help us fulfill our objectives.
“But the main thing has already been stressed by honourable members in the conference; to at least make an appeal to the world, and especially the European Union, to respect every single member of the conference. And I congratulate those who have spoken on behalf of Africa as a whole.”
ACP countries have often noted that while their EU counterparts are interested in the former’s abundant natural resource wealth, member states also care about their own demands especially those aligned to their right for development through industrialization and value addition.