The Heads of State of Governments of the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) states rose from their two-day 7th Summit meeting held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, last weekend.
The theme of the summit was: "The future of the ACP Group in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities". The meeting had six-sub-themes, namely; The Economic Partnership Agreement, Response to Challenges to Peace, Security, Stability and Good Governance in ACP States and Regions; The Future of Development Finance and the Post-Busan Global Partnership, Status of the ACP towards 2015 and beyond, Environment, Climate Change, Food Security and Rural Development in ACP Countries, and Energy and Sustainable Development in ACP Countries.
The meeting, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, came up with the Sipopo Declaration, but gave no details of it. Nor was it available on the ACP website as at press time.
The ACP was set up primarily to promote South-South trade, but cannot be said to have achieved much in that direction, due to ties to their colonial masters, because of easier telecommunication and premeditated trade agreements that tied ACP countries to their former masters.
Before the advent of GSM, for instance, it was cheaper for a person in Ghana to call a family member in London, than to call a relative in France, because the call to France had to be routed through London.
However, the theme and sub-themes of the 7th Summit seem appropriate, and The Chronicle hopes that all the ACP countries would strive to actualise the letter and spirit of the Sipopo Declaration, and of previous ones that preceded it.
The Chronicle calls on ACP leaders to shun all allurements from their colonial masters and their agencies, and implement the beneficial protocols they have formulated over the years.
A similar regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has approved free movement and trade for its citizens since the late 70s, but it has been frustrated at all levels - First, by the revenue drive by the component states, and the long-throats of their customs officers.
They will do well to remember the adage that in unity lies strength. In spite of the well-known individual clout of the member states of Europe, they still bind together as the European Union to maximise their advantages.
There is no reason why ECOWAS and other third-world regional groupings are unable to actualise their intentions for the greater benefit of their people.
The Chronicle is, therefore, looking forward to the news of the election of Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, the sole candidate of the African Union, for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), for whom President John Mahama canvassed the ACP's support.