Wednesday, 26 February 2014

CARICOM aiming to bolster relations with Africa

CARICOM is seeking to expand the horizons of its relations, in particular through enhancing South-South co-operation.

Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque expressed this sentiment during the presentation of credentials to Her Excellency Bernadette Rathedi, the first Plenipotentiary Representative of Botswana to CARICOM.

Saying that Botswana shared a number of similarities with CARICOM States, he outlined that tourism, agriculture and financial services are important economic activities for both.

He also noted that the region, like the African state, is engaged in the search for ways to stimulate economic growth, create employment and sustain development.

“As the Community seeks to deepen ties with the African continent, through strengthened relations with individual states and sub-regions, Botswana presents itself as a meaningful interlocutor with CARICOM States in this regard. Your position as the headquarter country for the Southern African Development Community as well as a willingness in seeking to strengthen relations at this time augurs well for our close collaboration. Indeed, the two communities face similar development challenges in the process of regional integration and cooperation,” he said.

Noting that since 2011 there has been an exchange of views on ways in which the membership of the two integration movements could co-operate, LaRocque stressed that this must be built on now.

“I am aware that such dialogue is already under way at the bilateral level between Botswana and at least two of our Member States, with one, Jamaica, having an Inaugural Session of a Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation in July 2013. Guyana is also in the process of seeking to deepen the bilateral ties, building on the high level of co-operation at the ACP. As a result of such initiatives, there remains great potential for us to further strengthen and deepen our relations at both the technical and political levels…” he reasoned.

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