WE, African Export-Import Bank (“Afreximbank”), Invest Barbados and Export Barbados, in collaboration with African Union Commission, Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, International Trade Centre, African Union Development Agency, African Business Council, Pan-African Manufacturers Association, the CARICOM Secretariat, Caribbean Export Development Agency, and CARICOM Private Sector Organisation convened the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 which held during September 1-3, 2022 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
HAVING deliberated on the theme “One People, One Destiny: Uniting and Reimagining our Future”;
RECALLING the decision of the African Union Executive Council that the African diaspora be designated as Africa’s sixth region;
ACKNOWLEDGING the decision of the Assembly of the Heads of States of the African Union recognizing the African diaspora as a substantive entity contributing to the economic and social development of the continent;
HAVING regard to the decisions of the September 2021 meeting of African and Caribbean Heads of State and Government;
AWARE of the cultural and economic ties and benefits of an integrated African-Caribbean economy towards driving industrialization and development;
COGNIZANT that the COVID-19 pandemic and the current crisis in the Ukraine pose an unprecedented threat against Africa’s and the Caribbean’s economic growth and development aspirations;
STRESSING the critical importance of enhancing trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean as the key drivers of integration between the two regions;
HAVING EXAMINED the immense opportunities for cooperation and the major structural challenges to enhancing Africa—Caribbean economic collaboration;
BEING COGNIZANT that fostering economic and social transformation in Africa and the Caribbean will require substantial financial and non-financial resources;
RECOGNIZING that economic diversification through an inclusive and sustainable development agenda that builds upon Africa’s and the Caribbean’s resource potential is a dynamic tool for poverty eradication, economic resilience and structural transformation;
ACKNOWLEDGING the synergies between the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the vision of the Caribbean Community toward unity, integration and prosperity that is centered on its people;
REITERATE our resolve to achieve goals and objectives of industrialization and sustainable economic development through mutual cooperation to reduce Africa’s and the Caribbean’s vulnerability to domestic and external shocks;
REAFFIRM our commitment to strategic commercial partnerships between the business communities in Africa and the Caribbean with the objective of fostering bilateral cooperation and engagement in trade, investment, technology transfer, innovation, transport, tourism, culture and other services;
COMMIT to the upgrading and diversification of our economies’ productive capacities through boosting of trade and investments between Africa and the Caribbean, as well as easing constraints to trade finance, trade services and trade payments in the two regions;
SUPPORT data sharing for effective trade information and customer due diligence; ;
REQUEST the African Union, CARICOM, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and other relevant stakeholders to formalize Africa-Caribbean political relations to advance economic cooperation and bilateral trade and investment;
CALL UPON the African Union and CARICOM to explore an Africa-Caribbean Free Trade Area to enhance market access and trade;
WELCOME the signing of the Partnership Agreement between Afreximbank and seven Caribbean Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and encourage other Caribbean states to sign and ratify the Partnership Agreement expeditiously and become partner countries;
WELCOME the announcement by Afreximbank of a US$700 million facility to support trade and investments in the Caribbean partner countries and welcome the proposed establishment of the Caribbean Export-Import Bank to support trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean;
ENCOURAGE CARICOM Member States and institutions as shareholders in Afreximbank as a means to enhancing bilateral economic cooperation and unlocking financing from Afreximbank to the region and boosting Afro-Caribbean trade and investment opportunities ;
WELCOME the establishment of the Africa-Caribbean Business Council involving the Africa Business Council, CARICOM Private Sector Organisation and Afreximbank.
COMMIT to a collaborative approach to take advantage of bilateral trade and investment opportunities in, among others, tourism, logistics, financial services, health industries, creative industries, the blue economy and agriculture;
URGE African and Caribbean financial institutions to support African Union and CARICOM Member States to significantly scale up trade and investments as a fundamental priority for sustainable development;
COMMIT to supporting the action that contribute to building and strengthening of private sector economic, investment, trade relationships between Africa and the Caribbean.
RESOLVE to strengthen collaboration and engagements between Africa and the Caribbean, including through the institutionalization of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum as a platform for annual bilateral engagement;
VOTE OF THANKS
We thank the over 1200 participants from 41 African countries, 16 Caribbean countries, for their participation and contribution to the success of the Forum.
We further thank the registered participants from 25 non-African and non-Caribbean countries that also participated and contributed to the success of the Forum.
We thank the Government and people of Barbados for the hospitality that they have afforded to all participants and for the courtesies which ensured the success of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022.
Finally, we wish to extend our gratitude to the 25 Heads of State and their representatives, Heads of International Organisations and other Delegations, Afreximbank, Invest Barbados, Export Barbados and their partners for successfully convening the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022.