The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stegormena Lawrence Tax, met the High Level Facilitator on Post-Cotonou Agreement and former Director-General for World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mr. Pascal Lamy in Pretoria, South Africa on 17th August 2017. The meeting discussed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which was signed in June 2000 between the then 28 Member States of the EU and 79 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP Group of States). The agreement addresses issues of poverty reduction, sustainable development and gradual integration of ACP countries into the global economy. The parties discussed areas of cooperation and summary of achievements under the cotonou partnership agreement.
Mr. Lamy thanked the SADC Executive Secretary for the opportunity to interact and engage on relations between the ACP Group of States and the EU and reinforcement of the political dimension of relations between the ACP States and the EU. He mentioned that a Post-Cotonou Agreement framework encompasses all features of relations between the EU and ACP countries, such as development, trade, fisheries, climate change, good governance and human rights.” He emphasises that the agreement is realising results and the EU is the largest trading partner of the SADC EPA Group and will continue to open market access to the region. He further stated that for Africa to achieve meaningful development in economic integration, social development as well as peace and stability, the African Regional Economic Committees (RECs) need to collaborate and also engage with governments, civil society and the AU Commission.
Dr. Tax expressed that it was a pleasure to strengthen cooperation between the parties and continue dialogue on issues pertaining to developmental collaboration. She highlighted that, “Cooperation between the parties continues under the 11th EDF for the 2014 – 2020 period and the programme will be implemented with COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC in the amount to the tune of over a billion American dollars.” This programme will support regional economic cooperation, regional political cooperation, regional natural resource management, infrastructure, capacity building and programmes of cross regional dimension.” She continued.
The meeting also discussed developmental strategies, establishment of a new framework for economic and trade cooperation; as well as reform of financial cooperation; the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs); duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market; Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement; as well as the ACP-EU cooperation in the Post-Cotonou period.