Excellencies, Ambassadors and Representatives of ACP Embassies and Missions, Representatives from the European Commission, Representatives from International Organisations, Managers from the various Project Management Units, Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the outset let me Welcome you to the ACP Secretariat and more specifically to the 5th OPEN DAY of the Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade. Today’s Open Day would provide a forum for Project Management Units, which are implementing projects and programmes on behalf of the ACP, to share the successes achieved and the challenges encountered during implementation and equally important, they should indicate how these projects and programmes have benefitted our respective countries and regions.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are all fully aware, we are currently in the process of the Intra-ACP Programming for the 11th EDF for which the ACP has over 3500 million Euros for the period 2014 – 2020.

We must therefore ensure that the projects and programmes which are developed for 11th EDF will be relevant and designed in a manner that will facilitate implementation in an effective and efficient manner while ensuring concrete impacts on the ground.

It is envisaged that inviting the PMUs to this Open Day, will also allow for the sharing of best practices and lessons learnt, identifying synergies and promoting an integrated approach to addressing the sustainable development challenges of ACP Member States.

For the ACP Secretariat and by extension the ACP as a Group, the issue of visibility, remains a challenge. For the 10th EDF, funding allocated to Intra-ACP Cooperation was over 2,700 million Euros and I am happy to report that by the end of 2013, there was close to 100% commitment of those funds.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You would all agree that a considerably large amount of money has been spent over the last five years, however, the ACP Group, for reasons which I am sure you will be able to articulate, is still not a household name. For the 11th EDF, we hope that visibility will be greatly enhanced, and I encourage the PMUs around the table to make recommendations to address this challenge.

In an effort to enhance visibility and contribute in a concrete manner to the sustainable economic development of ACP regions and countries, the ACP is working very closely with our partners from the European Commission, to ensure that the 11th EDF Intra-ACP Strategy will focus on a limited number of sustainable development challenges and on those projects and programmes that would best be addressed using an Intra-ACP approach.

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to pay tribute to my colleague, Mr Bassilekin, the Assistant Secretary-General for Sustainable Economic Development and Trade who believed in this initiative of bringing PMUs together by launching the event for the first time in October 2010. Colleagues under his leadership contributed as a team to that success.

Over the past four years, it has become an annual “rendez-vous”, allowing PMUs to showcase and develop synergies in their activities for the benefit of ACP Member States and regions.

In concluding, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is only left for me to wish you an informative, interactive and a successful 5th Open Day and I thank you for your kind attention.