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CARICOM and African Union host inaugural summit

SourceDayne Guy

Belize City, Tues. Sept. 7, 2021– Tuesday, September 7, 2021, marked the commencement of the first-ever CARICOM-Africa Summit. Spearheaded by Kenyan president, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, the summit was held under the theme, ‘Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration.’

The commencement of an intercontinental CARICOM and Africa Summit had been planned in 2020 following the Declaration by the African Union of the Diaspora as the sixth region of Africa, but it had to be postponed due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the event, heads of state and heads of government of CARICOM and African Union countries met with crucial regional entities such as chairpersons of CARICOM and the African Union Commission to discuss collaborative efforts between the Caribbean and African Union.

In his remarks, the president of Kenya, H.E. Kenyatta, said, “We meet today to start working together to confront the common challenges that we face and to strengthen the historical and cultural ties that bind us, and we aim to build social, economic, and political linkages that will promote shared prosperity and social progress for us all.”

The summit is expected to initiate conversations about possibly institutionalizing the CARICOM-African Union collaboration and the hosting of bi-annual conferences between CARICOM and the African Union. This historic intercontinental gathering was geared at strengthening the relations among 69 countries that hold voting power in the United Nations. It would enable a collaborative stance within that body on global issues such as Climate Change and COVID-19 and would give a more forceful voice to smaller countries that belong to the community. In addition, this will enable the regions to engage in more significant economic trade and investment opportunities.

This connection between the CARICOM and African Union has allowed CARICOM entrance into the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), through which it can access COVID-19 vaccines purchased in bulk. The distribution of vaccines purchased through this medium started in the region last month.

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