THE African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States has expressed the importance of the private sector as the only way of empowering middlemen and the small-scale farmers and livestock keepers.
This was highlighted through the outgoing chairperson of ACP Committee of Ambassadors Dr Diodorus Kamala during the meeting of the committee of ambassadors over the weekend.
The leader, who is also Tanzania's Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, said he found it pertinent to say that it is not only a matter of empowering the middlemen and the big farmers but also the subsistence farmers and livestock keepers.
"There are many challenges that confront the Private Sector in the ACP countries. Many of these are addressed in the Strategy.
It is my observation that one challenge is yet to receive adequate attention. "But nonetheless it is a challenge deserving of more attention in the Intra-ACP framework.
This is the problem of inadequate attention to the agricultural sector which is the backbone of ACP economies," he noted. He urged that a bigger percentage of Intra ACP resources be allocated to agricultural sector related projects and programmes.
"For example implementing initiatives to eliminate diseases affecting livestock and addressing Sanitary and Phytosanitary challenges which hinder ACP agricultural products to access the world market is crucial," he noted.
He noted that among the main initiatives that were able to be realized during his six-month period at the helm include the finalization of the negotiations and getting an agreement on the Joint ACPEU Private Sector Development Strategy.
"One cannot overstate the importance of the private sector for development in the ACP countries, and by extension the priority that should be given to it goes without question," he noted. He pointed out that an agreement was also arrived jointly by the ACP and the EU on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Linked to this, the Council also adopted the Declaration on the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States which among other things notes the specific challenges faced by SIDS and calls on all countries to do their part in addressing those challenges.
Concerning the Centre for the Development of Enterprise or CDE, he pointed out that they were able to arrive at ACP-EU joint decision on the way forward.
"The compromise reached in Nairobi entails the orderly closure of CDE, the full completion of current programmes, to take on board the best practices of CDE, and the establishment of a light structure.
"The finer details of the orderly closure will be looked into by this house and EU counterparts. It is my expectations the agreement made in Nairobi will be respected by all parties," he said.