Brussels, 17 June 2014/ ACP: The ACP Committee of Ambassadors bid farewell to two distinguished colleagues on Thursday 12th June, including the Dean of the ACP Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Republic of Togo, H.E Félix-Kodjo Sagbo, as well as the Ambassador of Malawi, H.E. Dr. Brave R. Ndisale.

Ambassador Sagbo has for the past decade since October 2004, represented his country in its relations with Belgium, the European Union, the Netherlands and the Holy Siege. He is also Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, the ACP Diplomatic corps, and Vice-Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Belgium.

Ambassador Sagbo is credited with helping to strengthen and reaffirm ties between Togo and the EU following sanctions imposed on Togo by organizing high level official visits to Brussels by high level Togolese authorities, including the President, three Prime-Ministers and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

He also endeavoured to strengthen relations among the Togolese diaspora in the Benelux States by celebrating Togo’s National Day each year and organising a “Friends of Togo” Dinner and several open days on Togo.

During his tenure in Brussels, Ambassador Sagbo was known as an active member of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, holding various leadership seats over the years, including Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Political, Social and Humanitarian Affairs as well as of the Subcommittee on Trade and Commodity protocols 2006 and 2007. He was Coordinator of the group of Ambassadors from the West African region in 2008 and 2011, and often represented his peers at regional ministerial negotiating meetings on the EPA’s.

“A man who is big-hearted and compassionate, highly dependable and extremely wise, of great moral courage, and a fervent advocate of ACP unity, Ambassador Sagbo has made an invaluable contribution to the work of our Group and to the promotion of ACP-EU partnership,” stated the Chair of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Dr Diodorus Kamala in thanking his colleague.

The group also bid adieu to another prominent peer, H.E Dr Brave Ndisale, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to Belgium, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland and the European Communities.

Amongst the highlights of her tour, which began in 2008, was leading the ACP Group in negotiating the second revision of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, a critical period which resulted in a substantial revision of the Cotonou Accord for the benefit of ACP countries.

She also chaired the ACP ambassadors’ Sub-Committee on Investment and Private Sector as well as the Sub-Committee on Development Finance Cooperation. During her tenure, the amount of Malawi’s budget support from the European Union doubled, and EDF resources grew from about €200 million in the 9th EDF cycle, to more than €560 million in the 11th EDF.

Ambassador Ndisale was closely involved both in facilitating political dialogue following the 2010 coup d’état in Niger and in mobilising development aid for victims in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti the same year. Looking back at the challenges the ACP Group faced on the latter project, she said that “even when the structures in place are difficult to move, as a group and with solidarity, we can achieve our goals.”

In congratulating her for a very successful run as Ambassador in Brussels, the new Dean of ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Dr Patrick I Gomes of Guyana expressed hopes that Dr Ndisale’s new role in the Southern African Region would, by extension, continue to serve the aims of the ACP Group, saying, “It is with contributions such as yours that ACP has a great future”.

– By Betty Dodd

(Photo from left: ACP Secretary General Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Amb. Felix-Kodgo Sagbo of Togo; Amb. Brave Ndisale of Malawi; Amb. P.I Gomes of Guyana, and the Chair of Committee of Ambassadors, Amb. Diodorus Kamala of Tanzania)