Brussels, 2 October 2012/ ACP: The new Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the European Union (EU), H.E Dr Diodorus Kamala made a plea for solidarity amongst the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States as the 79-member group weighs up options for the future on the way to reviewing its relations with the EU.

Dr Kamala recently addressed the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels for the first time, along with the newly appointed Ambassador of Comoros H.E Said Mdahoma Ali. He affirmed his government’s support to the ACP Group as well as the importance of the ACP-EU framework over the years.

“There are challenges though, that we have to overcome as a group. You will all agree with me that the challenge of charting out the future of our ACP after 2020 [when the current ACP-EU partnership framework concludes] is not easy and as a matter of fact, we need to have all our hands on board like sailors in stormy weather,” he told dilomatic peers.

As the largest intergovernmental grouping of developing countries in the world – originally brought together as former colonies of Europe – the ACP has embarked on several exercises to re-evaluate its international role. This includes setting up the Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group and another to examine the fundamental make up of the institution, called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Structure and Functioning of the Organs of ACP Group.

Dr Kalama also underlined the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with Europe, on-going since 2002, as a key issue in the future of ACP economies. While the European Parliament’s vote last month allowed two more years to smooth out divisive issues in the talks, Dr Kamala stressed the focus must remain on the development of ACP countries.

“It was simply a battle won, but we need to persevere to win the war which is EPAs, that will become the vehicle for sustained economic growth and development by strengthening production and supply capacities in ACP States, promoting structural processing and economic diversification. This should be done in a manner that supports and strengthens regional integration effort,” he said.

The Ambassador added that the upcoming Summit for ACP Heads of States and Government scheduled for December 13-14 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea would set the tone and direction for the ongoing EPA talks, as well as the cooperation of the ACP Group after 2020.

Ambassador Kamala was formerly Minister of East African Cooperation in his country and later became the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the East African Community in 2010.

The ACP Group was set up as an independent association of countries in 1975, with all members (except Cuba) signed on to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.

(Photo: Ambassador Kamala addressing the ACP Committee of Ambassadors on September 20, 2012)

– ACP Press