Days after the first ever United Nations (UN) International Day for People of African Descent was celebrated, there will be the first ever Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-Africa Summit! The summit, which was originally carded for July 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rescheduled summit, which will now be held on September 7, will be hosted by the Government of Kenya and chaired by Kenyan President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta under the theme “Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration”. The event will be livestreamed on CARICOM’s Youtube and Facebook pages. You can watch it below:
CARICOM Today notes that participants will include “Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community and the African Union, Chairs of CARICOM and the African Union Commission, and the Africa Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Secretaries-General of CARICOM and the Organisation of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the President of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)”.
The summit is the latest initiative in a push on both sides of the Atlantic for closer Africa-CARICOM ties which transcend traditional historic and cultural ties towards real commercial ties and deeper economic and cultural cooperation. As I noted in a previous piece back in 2019 entitled “Africa-Caribbean Trade: What are the prospects?“, current Africa-Caribbean trade remains small, but the prospects for expanded Africa-Caribbean trade are promising given four main factors: (1) Caribbean countries’ push for export partner diversification, (2) Africa is on the rise, (3) increased Caribbean-African awareness such as the Timaya-Machel collaboration, (4) the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). I had further argued in that piece that “since it is firms which trade and not countries, building linkages between chambers of commerce and investment promotion agencies in the Caribbean and African countries would also be key”.
On another note, starting Monday, I am truly pleased to have co-convened this Afronomicslaw. org Blog Symposium with the brilliant Dr Ohiocheoya Omiunu (PhD) on “Prospects for Deepening Africa-Caribbean Economic Relations“! The insightful contributions to this symposium will be released daily (from Monday) and can be read on the Afronomics Law Blog. Deepest appreciation to our expert contributors for their invaluable contributions!
The CTLD Blog wishes the organisers a successful CARICOM-Africa summit. I sincerely hope that the results go more beyond simply a lengthy communique of hortatory goals, but there will be a concrete action plan on deepening CARICOM-African ties.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. All views herein expressed are her personal views and should not be attributed to any institution with which she may from time to time be affiliated. You can read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.