PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD- CARICOM and African Leaders engaged in its first African –Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit held virtually from Kenya on Tuesday 7 September 2021.
Head of State of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley thanked the countries of Africa for letting Caricom nations participate in the African Medical Supply (AMSP) to access vaccines against COVID-19.
Dr Rowley said, “As chairman of Caricom during the first half of this year, I can attest to the value of closer collaboration between our regions. I therefore, wish to register my sincere gratitude to His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, co-chair of our summit, President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of Ghana, for the meaningful discussions and interventions during my tenure and the pragmatic solutions arrived at in the face of this global health crisis.”
Rowley hoped for future collaboration between Africa and Caricom in trade and finance while making special mention of the arts.
“There is also scope for collaboration in the creative sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
“Africa and the Caribbean have gifted the world with exceptional talent be it in music, publishing, film, or fashion. Let us strengthen the links between our region’s creative industries, a sector described by UNESCO as having the capacity to be ‘drivers of cultural, economic and social outputs for sustainable development.'”
“We must also seek out ways to mend the socio-cultural dissonance derived from the legacy of slavery. Educational programmes, the development and promotion of genealogy or heritage tracing, may prove instrumental in filling the knowledge and familial gaps.”
He hoped to deepen the two regions’ strategic partnership in the best interests of their citizenry.
He said his Government’s vision 2030 envisaged deeper ties with Africa, “While digital functionality is imperative with online platforms such as this one being ubiquitous, in-person exchanges will boost our trade, investment, and tourism activities. We believe that there is scope also for immediate closer co-operation in the areas of finance and agriculture.” “We trust that Africa will invest with us as we are indelibly imprinted with Africa in us.”
“I wish to close by quoting the great Kwame Nkrumah, ‘I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.”
Check the video for PM Rowley’s full speech.
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