The President made the revelation on Tuesday 7th September 2021 at the first meeting bringing together African countries and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) dubbed Africa-CARICOM Summit.
The virtual summit held under the theme ‘Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration’ was chaired by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.
It was also attended by other dignitaries, head of states governments including the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the Chairperson of African Union Commission, Faki Mahamat among others.
Participants discussed how the regions can tap into advantages of integration in the areas of trade and investment, development, culture and cooperation to mitigate climate change, fight against radicalism and terrorism among others.
Kagame said that establishing a permanent forum for dialogue between the African and the Caribbean nations is an opportune moment to discuss challenges the regions are faced with.
“Establishing a permanent forum for dialogue between the African and the Caribbean regions, is not only welcome but is also overdue. We are united by ties of history and shared experience. We also confront common challenges such as trade inequalities, vulnerability to climate change, and the need for more resilient health system,” he noted.
Kagame also stated that the regions have special requirements for adequate fiscal space to finance pandemic recovery and stressed the need for deepened ties for common interests.
“It is therefore the right moment to deepen the direct ties between our regional organizations, and just as importantly, our peoples. Where we are aligned, we should not hesitate to consult each other and make common cause in multilateral forums,” he said.
“We are all members of the new Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). The formation of this group, in a sense, really reminded us of the value of bringing our regions together, for the benefit of our economies and our people,” added Kagame.
The President emphasized that Africa and the Caribbean have a lot to offer to one another ‘in the spirit of South-South cooperation, learning from each other’s experience’.
Kagame also reminded participants of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP-26) scheduled in Scotland in November and the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting to be held in Rwanda in 2022.
CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett said the cycle of history has brought the Caribbean and Africa into a new union “that is freely entered into.”
She explained that it was important for African and Caribbean institutions to collaborate together for this relationship to work.
“The recent experiences with respect to the acquisition and distribution of vaccines to stop a global pandemic, must serve as an impetus to drive this relationship forward,” Barnett said.
Africa-CARICOM brings together 15 member states and 5 associate member states in the Caribbean.