Membership of the ACP
Following its accession to the Fourth ACP-EC Lome Convention on 24 April 1997, as approved by the ACP-EC Council of Ministers, South Africa simultaneously acceded to the Georgetown Agreement, (as approved by the ACP Council of Ministers). In so doing South Africa became a qualified member of the Lome Convention IV and subsequently, in June 2000, of its successor, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Being a qualified member means that South Africa is not a party to the trade chapters of the Cotonou Agreement because South Africa already had an agreement with the EU, the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA). Its membership of the ACP Group enables South Africa to maintain close interaction with 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Participation in the ACP Group
South Africa, through the South African Embassy in Brussels, currently engages on a number of dialogues within the ACP-EU relationship. These include the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers and the Ministerial Trade Committee. The ACP group is of importance for South Africa with regards to the fulfilment of South Africa’s foreign policy in that the dialogue allows for North-South dialogue, between the ACP countries and the EU), South-South co-operation (through inter-ACP relations), and the upliftment and development of the South through the various resolutions that are drafted, and the political engagements which occur.
Issues discussed by the ACP Group
Within the ACP-EU meetings, issues of global importance are discussed, such as climate change, the global economic and financial crisis, trade, crime and justice, migration, health, education, social enhancement and culture to name a few. On all these topics South Africa is a keen participant determined to continue to create benefits, not only for the South African people, but for the whole of the world’s population. The Embassy participates regularly and actively in the Committee of Ambassadors meetings as well as in the various Sub-Committees and Working Groups dealing with topical issues.
South Africa’s contribution to the ACP
Since South Africa joined the ACP in 1997, it has always tried to support the ACP countries in their interaction with the EU. As far back as 2001, South Africa played an important part in the preparations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations. In April 2001, South Africa hosted the first ACP Trade Ministers Committee Meeting in Johannesburg, where the EPAs were vigorously debated. Through the years South Africa has been involved in capacity building programmes for the ACP and some of the SA experts who were involved in the TDCA negotiations periodically participated in workshops geared towards building capacity and sharing experiences.
The major objective for SA’s membership to the ACP is to strengthen South-South relations and to contribute to dialogue on political and sustainable development between the ACP Group and the EU, as well as intra-ACP issues of common concern. It remains imperative that the interest of each and every ACP country should be taken into account and that the ACP as a group should engage effectively with the EU to support development programmes and to assist the ACP countries most effected by structural adjustments. The development of the ACP remains the key to all negotiations with the EU.
Solidarity with the ACP
South Africa will continue to engage actively in this relationship to ensure that the interests of the ACP countries, of the African continent, of the Southern African sub-region, and those of South Africa itself are looked after.
Calendar of events
• 37th ACP Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Intersessional Meetings, Brussels, 17 -20 March.
• 38th PA and 29th JPA: Port Villa, Vanuatu, 10-17 June.
• 39th ACP PA and ACP-EU JPA Intersessional Meetings: Brussels, 22-25 September.
• 40th PA & 30 JPA: Maputo, Mozambique, 2-9 December.
• 101st Council of Ministers, Brussels, 25-29 May
• 102nd Council of Ministers, Brussels, 22-25 November (tbc).
For the latest information on the activities of the ACP Group in Brussels, kindly click on the link: