By Levinus Nwabughiogu
President Mohammadu Buhari has urged the African, Caribbean & Pacific Group of States, ACP, to focus on areas of comparative advantage including trade, investment and technology.
President Buhari spoke through his vice, Yemi Osinbajo who represented him at the just concluded ACP Summit of Heads of States in Papua, New Guinea on Wednesday.
He noted that while the ACP Group has done well, Nigeria had resolved to invest in areas of comparative advantage.
“I would like to emphasize the point, that the Federal Government of Nigeria supports the view that the ACP should not stretch itself further but rather, focus on areas of comparative advantage”, he said.
The president listed the three areas of Trade and Investment, Government Development Cooperation through Technology, Political Dialogue and Advocacy, the president said they were the future pillars for the group.
While presenting Nigeria’s statement at the summit, Osinbajo said efforts should be focussed on job creation, adding that young people should be encouraged to go into areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and education.
He said in technology in particular, areas such as computer application, programming, lighting, soft ware applications and so on, should be explored to engage young people in ACP countries “to ensure that our young people” are in the cutting edge of technology.
Responding to the report on the future of the ACP, presented at the summit by the Eminent Persons Group, EPG, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Vice President noted the important suggestions and recommendations in the report and assured the summit of Nigeria’s continuing support of the ACP.
He disclosed that Nigeria would continue its active engagement with the Group, describing the report of the Eminent Persons as excellent as it has set the tone for future negotiations.
The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) is an organisation formed in 1975 with the Cotonou Agreement, and composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, with all of them, save Cuba, signatories to the Cotonou Agreement, also known as the ‘ACP-EC Partnership Agreement’ which binds them to the European Union. There are 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific, in the ACP.
Speaking on its activities, the Vice President said since the creation of the ACP, there had been so many changes and dynamics, necessitating the need to restrategize.
Regarding the expiration of the agreement in 2020, Osinbajo stated that the countries seemed to have made up their minds to continue to work together beyond 2020, noting that the most important thing was how the ACP would engage with the European Union, saying the organizations were vastly different from what they were in 1975.