Brussels, 26 July 2013/ ACP: New ambassador of Lesotho to the European Union, H.E Mrs Mpeo Mahase-Moila, urged African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to intensify ties with each other, highlighting the private sector as the main engine for cooperation.
In her first address to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday, Lesotho’s former Minister for Justice, Human Rights, Correctional Service and Constitutional Affairs said that interregional and intraregional trade links within the 79-member Group are “indispensable” to reaching countries’ development potential as well as a successful future for the ACP.
“The diversity of our Group as well as the geographical inclinations should not deter us at this point since we have been able to maintain our solidarity for the past years…[however] it is imperative that the barriers to inter and intra ACP trade relations are eliminated so that our countries can realise their own development opportunities… It is also my hope that the ACP would remain united in ensuring that the developmental objectives of the EPAs [ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements] are realised,” she told the gathering.
Ambassador Mahase-Moila said Lesotho welcomes initiatives such as the creation of an international trade and investment facility, as well as enhanced South-South cooperation with emerging countries. At the moment, the ACP Secretariat is inviting feedback from stakeholders and the public on a recent feasibility study on the set up of an ACP bank for international trade and investment.
Meanwhile, discussions on an ACP free trade area are ongoing, while ACP-EU EPA negotiations are nearing their conclusions in some regions. Partnerships with emerging economies are increasingly explored as a future option.
“A clearly defined Private Sector Development Strategy that is focused exclusively on the ACP Group and able to adequately address the ACP needs is crucial… ACP should leverage on resources [from the European Development Fund –EDF] to build a solid base for intra-ACP cooperation after 2020,” she said.
Ambassador Mahase-Moila is a professional lawyer and was appointed Minister for Justice, Human Rights, Correctional Service and Constitutional Affairs from 2007 to 2012. She is the third woman in a row to represent the Kingdom of Lesotho in Europe.
– ACP Press