The African Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP) refer to countries found the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Africa, which came together to form a joint group in 1975 through the Georgetown agreement. The primary objectives of the group are sustainable development and reducing poverty among the member countries and trying to integrate into the global economy. All the ACP member countries, aside from Cuba, took part in signing the Cotonou Agreement, which created an economic partnership with the EC, now the EU. The agreement was adopted in the city of Cotonou in Benin in June 2000 when the agreement was signed. The Cotonou Agreement succeeded the Lome Convention, and the main difference between the two agreements was that the Cotonou Agreement extended the partnership to include other actors such as the private sector, civil society, local authorities, and trade unions. The Cotonou Agreement is an agreement partnership between the ACP member countries and the EU, and it is formally known as the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement.
African ACP member states
Out of the 54 countries in Africa, only six are not members of the ACP, and they include Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, South Sudan, and Libya. Western Sahara, which has not been recognized as a country, is also not a member of the ACP. All ACP countries negotiate with the EU through regional groups known as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) groups. Africa has five such groups which negotiate with the EU on behalf of their member countries. The five groups of Africa include the Eastern and Southern Africa group, Southern Africa group, Central African group, the West African group, and the Eastern African group. Economic partnership agreements (EPAs) refer to schemes which were established as a Free Trade Area (FTA). Different EPAs are at different stages in their negotiations and agreements with the EU on behalf of their member countries, formal EPAs in Africa are; the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC).
The East African Community (EAC)
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional grouping made up of six different nations located in the eastern part of Africa, and they include Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The organization had its origins in 1967 but later it collapsed in 1977. However, it was revitalized once again in July 2000. EAC forms a basic component of the larger African economic community. In 2008, the organization negotiated with SADC and COMESA to expand their coverage to include the member countries of the 3 regional organizations. In 2010, an organization was established to look into the possibility of forming a single market, for capital, labor, and goods within the area with the aim of establishing a single currency and finally transitioning into a full-fledged political federation. Three years later in 2013, member states of the EAC signed a protocol which outlined the plan to launch a monetary union within a period of ten years, and in 2018 a team was established to start the procedure of writing a constitution for the region.
The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
SADC is another regional group having its headquarters in Gaborone in Botswana and draws its membership from 16 nations in the southern region of Africa. The goal of the organization is to increase social, economic cooperation, and integration among its members. The newest member in the organization is the union of the Comoros, which joined the organization in 2017, during the 37th summit meeting held in Pretoria, South Africa officially joined the organization bringing the membership of the organization to 16. Burundi has also requested to join SADC membership. SADC was formed in 1992, and in 2001 the Treaty was amended which saw the overhaul of procedures, policies, and structures of the organization.
The Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC)
CEMAC is another organization which was formed to promote regional cooperation among the Central African countries. The organization was originally founded by the Equatorial Guinea, CAR, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, and Gabon. It aimed to encourage integration between the member countries who shared the common currency of CFA Franc. The primary objectives of CEMAC is to promote trade, common market, and solidarity among the citizens of the member nations. CEMAC has succeeded in establishing a common external tariff on imports from non-member states. Movement of capital within the organization is free, but full implementation of eliminating tariffs has been delayed.
The Caribbean ACP Member States
All the member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) together with the Dominican Republic negotiate with the EU through the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM). The Caribbean forum was established in 1992 and is comprised of 15 countries of the CARICOM together with the Dominican Republic. The organization signed an agreement with the EU in 2008, although Haiti and Guyana did not sign the agreement because of issues touching on immigration and trade. Similarly, the Dominican Republic, which has the largest economy in the group, has expressed reservations over the current structure. The CARICOM was established in 1973 to promote regional cooperation and cooperation among the member countries.
The Pacific ACP Member States
All the member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) group together with East Timor negotiate with EU through the Pacific EPA. The PIF was originally formed in 1971and it was known as the South Pacific Forum (SPF). However, the name of the organization was changed in 1999 to its current name. The objective of the group was to support the governments of member nations to improve their economic and social welfare of their citizens through collaboration between international agencies and governments. The organization has 18 member nations, in the Pacific and Oceania, although New Zealand and Australia are not members of the ACP.
Objectives of ACP-EU Partnership
The ACP is made up of 79 countries, and each is a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement except for Cuba. The agreement binds the ACP member countries to the EU. Of these countries, 48 are in sub-Saharan Africa, 16 are in the Caribbean, while 15 are found in the Pacific region. The ACP-EU partnership is geared towards special trade agreements which are aimed to ensure economic development among the ACP countries an eventual integration into the global economy. These trade agreements have to be compatible with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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