Brussels, 16 February 2018/ ACP: New representatives of ACP member states Rwanda and Tuvalu were presented to the Committee of Ambassadors on Thursday, along with a formal introduction of the new Permanent Representative of the African Union.

H.E. Mr Amadin Rugina is a former Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, and served as the country’s Ambassador to the Republic of Congo and Burundi before his appointment to Brussels in August 2017. Before entering foreign affairs, he occupied key posts in the finance sector, including Managing Director of the Rwanda Development Bank and Director of Rwanda's Higher Institute of Public Finance, bringing valuable financial expertise to contribute to the collective goals of the ACP Group.

H.E. Mr Aunese Makoi Simati was a prominent civil servant in his Pacific home nation of Tuvalu, having previously served as Permanent Secretary in various government ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Industries, the Ministry of Communications and Transport, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development, and as Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister. He subsequently became High Commissioner of Tuvalu to Fiji and the Pacific, and was later appointed as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where he was also accredited to the USA and Cuba. He was Tuvalu's Lead Negotiator in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The two ambassadors were greeted by the Dean of the Committee of Ambassadors, the Ambassador of Cameroon H.E. Mr. Daniel Evina Abe’e, as well as by the ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes. They assured their fellow ACP envoys of their support for the shared objectives and work programme of the Group, including progress towards negotiations with the European Union on a renewed ACP-EU partnership framework beyond 2020.

New AU Permanent Rep welcomes closer relations between the ACP and AU

The Committee of Ambassadors also welcomed the new Permanent Representative of the African Union to the EU, H.E. Awad Sakine Ahmat, who was given a special introduction by the Chairperson of the Committee H.E. Mrs Sheila Sealy Monteith, Ambassador of Jamaica.

Ambassador Ahmat previously served as Chad’s envoy in Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He sat on the AU’s Peace and Security Council of the AU and chaired the African Union Committee of Ambassadors from January to April 2016. He was later appointed Ambassador to South Africa, with accreditation to Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

With the African Union encompassing 48 of the total 79 ACP member states, Ambassador Ahmat stressed the importance for the AU and the ACP Group to coordinate actions and work together towards common goals, in the interest of their vast populations. The AU is currently an Observer of the ACP Group.

His first-hand experience with the ACP, having previously served as Ambassador in Brussels from 2010 to 2013, includes chairing the ACP Subcommittee on Political, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs, and being an active member of the Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group post-2020.

“I am convinced that his presence among us will help to strengthen the exemplary relations between the African Union and the ACP Group,” said the Chair, after welcoming the Ambassador back to Brussels.

(Photos from top: Ambassador Amadin Rugina of Rwanda (centre) addresses the Committee of Ambassadors; Tuvalu's Ambassador Aunese Makoi Simati receives welcome gift from the Chair of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors; Chair of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors H.E. sheila Sealy Monteith (right) ad ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes (left) welcome new Permanent Representative of the AU in Brussels H.E. Awad Sakine Ahmat (centre))

– ACP Press