Global bodies like the African Union, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States have been urged to fortify African-Caribbean political relationships to propel economic alliances, bilateral trade, and the pivotal concept of establishing an African Caribbean free trade zone.
This was the consensus of participants at the AfriCaribbean trade and investment forum in Georgetown, Guyana.
The two-day conference anchored under the theme ‘Creating a shared prosperous future’, heralded a new era of cooperation aimed at enhancing trade and investment avenues for nations across Africa and the Caribbean.
Drawing from the communique, Elizabeth Harper, permanent secretary of Guyana’s foreign ministry, read the group’s resolution, highlighting an ardent call to global bodies in this regard.
The forum echoed a unanimous voice for fostering partnerships with stalwarts like the African Business Council, the CARICOM private sector, and the International Trade Centre. Their combined vision is the operationalisation of the African Caribbean Business Council, designed as a nucleus for private-sector amalgamation.
Over the span of ACTIF23, the dedication to mutual growth was evident. African and Caribbean governments and their business counterparts inked several ground-breaking agreements. These spanned diverse sectors: energy and tourism to logistics, construction, agriculture, sports and the burgeoning creative industries.
Reflecting on the forum’s culmination, Guyana’s finance minister, Ashni Singh said, “Hosting ACTIF23 has been monumental for Guyana. This event has been a catalyst in reinforcing the ties between our regions and shedding light on the myriad of challenges we collectively aim to overcome”.
Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of the board of directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), added weight to the vision, underlining the pressing need for genuine integration.
“Our collaborative endeavours signal a future where we overcome regional challenges through reinforced south-south cooperation. The horizon seems promising, with a unified payment system bridging Africa and the Caribbean becoming an imminent reality,” he noted.