Geneva, 11 July 2017/ CSec/ ACP: African, Caribbean and Pacific countries stand to benefit from an extension of the innovative Hub and Spokes II Programme, which is a joint initiative of the European Union, ACP Group, Commonwealth Secretariat and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, aimed at boosting trade and prosperity in ACP countries.

The consolidation phase of the Hub and Spokes Programme was signed in Geneva on Tuesday 11 July by ACP Assistant Secretary General Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mr. Neven Mimica, Director of Trade at the Commonwealth Secretariat Mr. Paulo Kautoke and OIF Director of Economics Mr. Kako Nubukpo, extending the Hub and Spokes Programme until February 2019 with€5 million in funding.

The Hub and Spokes approach involves placing trade advisers and experts in government ministries and regional organisations, to provide support and build local capacity to develop strong trade policies and negotiating strategies.

Through the initiative, 10 regional trade advisers, or ‘hubs’, and 32 national trade advisers, or ‘spokes’, are currently deployed in ACP countries. These include six regional advisers and 16 national advisers managed by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) has also deployed 4 hubs and 16 spokes in Africa, resulting in a total of 10 hubs and 32 spokes deployed under the programme.

In 2016 alone, the trade advisers are estimated to have aided more than 5,000 national and regional stakeholders and helped to draft a range of trade policies, for example delivering Fiji’s first ever national trade policy and helping the country to become a Pacific trading and investment hub.

ASG Gnassounou welcomed the phase of the programme, with the ultimate aim of helping to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development by enhancing trade, boosing business, and creating jobs.

The first stage of the programme, Hub and Spokes I, ran from 2004 to 2012. The second phase, Hub and Spokes II, ended 27 May 2017. The new consolidation phase will extend the Hub and Spokes programme until at least February 2019. To kick-start the next phase, 40 of the programme’s main stakeholders including 16 trade advisers, took part in a workshop in Barbados between 22 and 23 May 2017.

Currently, advisers are placed in these countries and regional organisations:

Caribbean: Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, CARICOM Secretariat and OECS Secretariat

Eastern and Central Africa:Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, AU Commission, COMESA Secretariat, EAC Secretariat and SADC Secretariat

Western and Central Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, The Ivory Coast, Mali, Republic of Niger, Republic of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Togo, CEEAC/ECCAS, CEMAC, ECOWAS and UEMOA

Pacific: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, PIF Secretariat

(Photos from top: ACP ASG in charge of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou addresses participants at the signing ceremony: OIF, EU, ACP, Commonwealth Secretariat representatives after signing consolidation phase)

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