ACP news – Post date: June 11th, 2020.

OACPS Inter-Sessional Summit addresses risks arising from Covid-19

On 3 June, the President of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the President of the Republic of Kenya convened an Extraordinary Inter-sessional Summit to address the risks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and find solutions going forward. The virtual summit, with the theme “Transcending the Covid-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity”, aimed to assess the current global Covid-19 situation, and in particular, the effects and consequences for the Members of the OACPS. In addition, Members identified opportunities for global solidarity, action and mitigation.

Before the summit, OACPS Secretary-General H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti said “Covid-19 makes the possibility of a macro-financial crisis in OACPS Members very likely. OACPS countries must find between US$50 and 60 billion this year and much more in 2021 to meet their international obligations, in a context of foreign currency shortages. This will reduce their capacity to finance imports and brings the risk of default and lower ratings, which will restrict their access to the international capital markets.”

The Secretary-General particularly mentioned the expected loss in revenues and incomes due to the downturns in key industries such as tourism, especially in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, where tourism is a driver of growth. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, in the Caribbean tourism accounts for 33‒38% of total GDP.

The OACPS has mobilised over €200 million from the 11th European Development Fund, which is financed by the European Union and co-managed by the OACPS, to aid Member States to boost health systems and preparedness, and assist in the fight against Covid-19.

Comesa calls for trade facilitation, continuity in wake of Covid-19

The Comesa Business Council (CBC) has called for cargo movement across the region to be expedited (The Star, 1 June). Preferential clearance should be given to food products, chemicals, agricultural products, medical equipment, agricultural inputs and raw materials for use in industries. The 21-Member State trade block says this should be done through pre-clearance and/or prompter clearance to facilitate trade and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections at the border posts. In its regional trade guidelines, Comesa wants Member States to ensure that drivers and their crew in cross-border transit, and those delivering essential goods inland, are facilitated as needed. Customs authorities must ensure continued availability of their customs declaration processing systems to avoid system failures that lead to long queues at the port of entry. The CBC has recommended publishing of all regulatory measures pertaining to the Covid-19 restrictions and the list of goods/essential goods being applied within the country. Member States are urged to urgently put in place a common framework on the movement of essential goods and services across borders, taking into account product uniformity and harmonisation across the countries.

ECOWAS: Challenges to complying with SPS regulations

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has published a policy brief on “Challenges to comply with SPS regulation in West Africa”, which is especially relevant in the current context of Covid-19. The brief notes that in Africa, particularly in West Africa, most countries face problems in achieving compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Significant improvements are continuing towards achieving regional integration, which has contributed to reductions in tariffs. But non-tariff measures such as SPS measures can remain an impairment to trade – weak national quality assurance/control systems resulting in the lack of SPS enforcement can lead to a ban from market access, whereas effective quality assurance systems facilitate trade. The SPS Agreement has brought a number of problems and challenges for developing and less-developed countries, most of which are related to trade facilitation and capacity building. Technical assistance from the World Trade Organization and development partners should be aimed at reducing SPS compliance costs through support to upgrade customs efficiency and modernise SPS systems, both to provide better protection for public health, animal/plant life and environmental safety, and to cut down the SPS barriers caused by low transparency and complicated inspection requirements.

ACP young professionals’ post-Cotonou wishlist

On 20 May, the ACP Young Professionals Network (ACP YPN) unveiled its top 10 policy recommendations for a relevant, purposeful and sustainable post-Cotonou partnership between the ACP countries and the European Union, with a specific focus on youth inclusion. The list is based on 5 years of extensive consultations and advocacy by this network of young professionals across EU and ACP Member States. The wishlist comes at a critical time, when negotiations on the new ACP-EU partnership will resume shortly. The main suggestions include:

  • The creation of an ACP Youth Fund supporting the work of youth organisations committed to the sustainable development of resilient societies
  • The creation of ACP scholarships to EU academic institutions
  • The introduction of fully funded internships and training opportunities in the EU institutions and at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels and Geneva.

ACP YPN says “With a revised and more inclusive structure, considering regional dynamics, the new ACP-EU Partnership will serve as a platform that is relevant, purposeful and affirmative for our ambitions post-2020.”

ITC and SIDS Group – Five Point Action Plan to support trade

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Group marked World Environment Day (5 June) by issuing a joint statement on the impacts of Covid-19, pointing out the urgent need for greater development cooperation and coordination. Measures instituted by individual countries have had a significant impact on the access to critical medical supplies – and have also threatened to interrupt global agricultural supply chains and food security. “It is critical that measures do not distort trade and threaten the health and food and livelihood security of countries, particularly net food importing developing countries. These measures should also be reversed as soon as possible.”

The statement includes a Five Point Action Plan aimed at supporting trade in SIDS and assisting with their response to and recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis:

  • Foster the resilience and competitiveness of MSMEs and small farmers.
  • Support sustainable investments in SIDS.
  • Track and analyse Covid-19 temporary trade measures.
  • Promote green growth and MSMEs’ and small farmers’ climate resilience.
  • Jointly mobilise partners and resources with a view to leveraging public and private sector partnerships and resources.

The statement was issued by Dorothy Tembo, Executive Director ad interim, ITC, and H.E. Mr Chad Blackman, Coordinator of the SIDS Group.


Togo’s National Development Plan (2018–2022), launched in March 2019, aims to structurally transform the economy by 2022 to achieve a growth rate of 7.8% per year. It comprises three pillars – a logistics hub around the Lomé deep-water port accompanied by the development of a financial centre to facilitate access to business financing; the development of agricultural processing centres (10 agropoles spread throughout the territory); and the consolidation of social development and strengthening of inclusion mechanisms. To support businesses, the Mécanisme Incitatif de Financement Agricole Fondé sur le Partage de Risques (MIFA: Incentive Mechanism for Agricultural Financing Based on Risk Sharing) was created to organise the value chain by linking all players and facilitating access to financing. As part of the government’s response plan to the Covid-19 crisis, MIFA has received support from the government and financial partners to facilitate bank financing for local economic actors, particularly in strategic sectors to ensure Togo’s food security and the production of cash crops (soybean, cotton) (Agridigitale, 29 May). MIFA has been enabled to carry out activities including implementing “input credits” for producers so that they have fertiliser, seeds, etc. in time for the current agricultural season; facilitating the marketing of local onion production by contracting producers and traders; removing barriers to allow goods trucks to circulate at night throughout the territory and facilitate the supply of perishable products to markets. In the second half of 2020 three insurance products will be implemented so that players in the agricultural value chain can benefit from a health insurance fund, an agricultural insurance fund, and a provident insurance fund for voluntary retirement or cessation of farming activities.

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