Brussels, 18 March 2014/ ACP: The ACP Eminent Persons Group (EPG) is planning its next round of consultations in Angola, to gather views from stakeholders on how to orient the 79-member ACP organisation when its current partnership agreement with the European Union ends in 2020.

The most recent talks were successfully held last month (24-26 February) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the East African region. The meeting echoed previous calls for the ACP Group to remain united and use its large membership to better address global development problems.

“There is potential to build on this numeric strength to promote the collective cause of some of the poorest countries in the world, with opportunity to establish crucial alliances not only with Europe but with some of the emerging global players in the world economy,” said ACP Secretary General Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni at the opening ceremony.

“At the various levels these relations need to be nourished to allow for greater intra-ACP cooperation and coordination, and a more cohesive, proactive and vibrant Group.”

In Addis Ababa, participants stressed that such efforts would depend chiefly on political commitment from ACP leaders.

In addition to holding discussions with government officials, civil society, business sector and parliamentarians from throughout the Eastern African states, the EPG also had fruitful exchange of views with high level members of major African organisations, including Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Dr Abdalla Hamdok, Trade and Industry Commissioner of the African Union Commission Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl, and the Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Addis Ababa Mrs Josephine Ngure. These officials outlined the key development challenges faced by the African regions and how their own organisations were tackling them. The talks also covered how the ACP Group could play a role in addressing these issues in the future.

The stakeholder talks urged South-South cooperation and solidarity amongst the ACP states, including a common approach to challenges such as trade agreements that may foster divisions between Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and non-LDCs in the same region.

Participants also supported the move to explore partnerships with other parties such as the BRICS countries, but cautioned that all new partnerships come with demands.

The Eminent Persons Group requested a study to be done on the successes and failures of the ACP Group since its inception, in order to identify niche areas where the organisation can make the most impact in the future.

It was agreed that the fifth round of consultations will be held in Angola for the Southern African region. Specific dates for the event are yet to be set.

The EPG is made up of 12 high profile figures from the Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, tasked with reviewing the ACP Group as an international organisation and making recommendations for its future structure and scope after 2020.

Read Secretary General's speech at the event

Browse photo gallery

Visit the EPG website

(Photo: EPG members Prof. Ibrahima Fall and Ambassador Nureldin Satti during the Eastern Africa consultations in Addis Ababa)

– ACP Press