I am pleased to acknowledge, as Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the watershed moment two years ago when the leaders of CARICOM and Africa agreed to designate a date to honour the fraternal and enduring bonds that unite our countries, and reflect on the significance of our emerging strategic partnership to our people.
The relationship between the Caribbean Community and the African continent has immense potential to advance priority areas of mutual interest, such as climate change, development financing, public health, and reparations.
Our alliance has made remarkable progress in recent times. Reciprocal official visits by leaders of CARICOM and Africa have further strengthened our relations. In this regard, my fellow CARICOM Heads of Government were delighted to receive His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, as a Special Guest during the Forty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference in Port-of-Spain, in July. That exchange allowed us to discuss matters, including health, digitisation, transport, telecommunications, and reform of the international financial architecture, strategically important issues for the people of our Regions.
The recent opening of the AFREXIMBANK Caribbean Office in Barbados will advance efforts to develop and promote critical trade and economic relations between the Caribbean and Africa.
It is that excellent spirit of cooperation that will continue to unite the Member States of CARICOM and African countries, as we seek to assist our sister nation, Haiti, to resolve its ongoing multi-dimensional crisis.
We understand the importance of solidifying our cooperation and transforming our proposals into initiatives that contribute to the sustainable development of our countries and the welfare of our peoples. I, therefore, look forward to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the CARICOM and the African Union Commission Secretariats.
People-to-people contact remains a primary catalyst for our ambitions to advance collaboration between the Caribbean and African nations in trade, investment, health, connectivity and other priority areas. I am confident that our relationship will continue to flourish in the years ahead. Our Community is home to many citizens of the African Diaspora, designated as Africa’s Sixth Region. Let us continue to work together to further solidify the ties of friendship and cooperation that have traditionally bonded us.
I extend wishes for the well-being and prosperity of the Governments and People of CARICOM and Africa.