Dakar, Senegal, 5 July 2016/ Commonwealth/ Hubs-Spokes/ ACP: The Hub and Spokes II Programme enhances trade capacity in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions by placing trade advisers in national ministries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
It is implemented through a partnership of the EU, ACP Group, Commonwealth Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), and works mainly through a network of advisers, 'Hub' (regional) and 'Spokes' (national), which are deployed to ACP countries to provide expertise on trade matters. The Programme assists the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of states with formulating suitable trade policies, participating more effectively in international trade negotiations and implementing international trade agreements. The priority is to ensure sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in ACP countries through closer regional integration and increased participation in the global economy.
The 3rd Global Network Meeting for this programme was held in Dakar on 27 – 28 June, to share experiences amongst stakeholders, including successes and challenges, for a better orientation of the programme. It also brought together key partners in the joint programme alongside regional bodies, international partners such as WTO, as well as national and regional trade advisers.
In addition, the Steering Committee Meeting for the programme was held on 29 June to provide oversight of the Programme and its results, as well as review the global effectiveness of the Hub Spokes II Programme and the progress of achieving its objectives and result areas.
Alioune Sarr, a Senegalese trade minister, opened the meeting. Speaking in French, he outlined the importance of the programme in Senegal: “The Hub and Spokes Programme has convinced the highest authorities of its pertinence, both in developing capacity and in the assistance that it offers beneficiary countries and Regional Economic Communities.”
The Minister further noted the important contributions the Programme and its advisors have made in Senegal, by helping to negotiate Economic Partnership Agreements, intra-regional agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda talks.
Marc Boussey, the European Union’s Head of Cooperation in Senegal, echoed his support for the programme: “The Hub and Spokes Programme has encouraged South-South exchanges in external trade exports and has equally contributed to important national, regional and international agendas.”
Remarks were also delivered by Morgan Githinji, an expert on Market Access at the ACP Secretariat; Paulo Kautoke, Director of Trade at the Commonwealth Secretariat; and Chekou Oussouman, Programme Manager at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
The meeting included sessions on Trade Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); ACP Countries in the Multilateral Trading System; the Regional Agenda for ACP Countries; and, Aid for Trade (AfT) Partnerships.
It is a challenging time for ACP countries in light of the recently-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Trade Organization’s Nairobi Package. Trade Advisers from the Hub and Spokes Programme will play a key role for countries and RECs in addressing emerging trade issues in these regions.
Mr Githinji emphasised the important contribution that the Hub & Spokes Programme can make in the future: “The ACP is committed to move forward with the partnership and to strengthen it.”
(Photos from top: Senegal MinisterAlioune Sarr speaks about the importance of the Hub and SpokesII programme/ Hubs and Spokes Global Network Meeting in Dakar./ Photos: Commonwealth Secretariat/ Twitter)
– Commonwealth Secretariat/ Hubs and Spokes/ ACP