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By Pita Ligaiula in Nairobi, Kenya
The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta said the Africa, Carribean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States will defend multilateral trading systems to protect the organisation from unfair trade practices.
President Kenyatta assumed the presidency of the ACP Group Monday, accepting the gavel from outgoing president, Davis Steven Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
He said he will spearhead reforms and reinvigoration of the ACP for the next three years.
Addressing the 9th Summit of ACP Heads of States and Government in Nairobi, Kenyatta promised that under his leadership, he will seek to promote and protect the interests of the group at the regional, continental and international levels.
“I will also champion the group’s solidarity and unity; advocate for an enhanced intra-ACP and South-South and Triangular Cooperation; champion a Reform Agenda for the ACP Group; push for the integration of our States into the global economy, as well as the conclusion and implementation of the New Partnership Agreement.
"As ACP member states, we should be firm in advocating for a fair multilateral trading system that safeguards our economies from unfair trading practices,” he said.
President Kenyatta said he will share his vision with the leadership of the rest of the ACP countries on how they can collectively pursue a common roadmap for the actualisation of the transformed ACP Group.
He urged ACP countries to embrace innovation and technology to boost their economies.
“We need to accelerate the implementation of structural reforms and policies and infrastructural development, targeted at fostering industrial development and diversification of our economies,” Kenyatta said.
He said Kenya has undertaken a deliberate path of structural transformation, and identified four priority sectors, namely: manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health coverage and food and nutrition security.
“These four areas were prioritised to drive equitable and inclusive economic development and improved quality of life, create jobs particularly for the youth, and improve our economy’s resilience against the anticipated challenges posed by climate change,” said the President.
He acknowledged that climate change presents an existential threat to the world especially island nations that form part of the ACP grouping.
President Kenyatta also called for the ACP to become a vehicle for deeper south-south partnership given that it represents the nations in the southern hemisphere.
He said the ACP stands out as the largest transnational organisation in the world and it should therefore play a stronger role in global affairs.
"Today's multi-polar world is characterised by competing geopolitical interests, new challenges to peace, security and movement of people. However, we remain committed to becoming a beacon of hope for multilateralism," said Kenyatta.
On the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between ACP and the European Union, the President said new agreements with the EU will enhance integration of ACP countries into the global economy.
“We look forward to a more balanced trading arrangement with the European Union in the New Partnership Agreement, which gives priority to emerging opportunities especially in e-commerce and trade in services,” he said.
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