The OACPS Business Forum is launched!
Less than two years since the coming into force of the Revised Georgetown Agreement, which is the Constitutive Act of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, The OACPS Business Forum was officially launched on 21 January 2022 during a virtual meeting organized by the OACPS Secretariat with technical support of Business ACP.
“OACPS leaders have always recognized the crucial socio-economic role played by our private sector, and in particular our micro, small and medium sized enterprises, in fostering the sustainable development of our countries by providing decent jobs, creating wealth, generating government revenue and driving foreign exchange. However, until today we had been unable to formalize the platform through which OACPS political leaders could engage with the private sector in a constructive manner via an open and inclusive public-private sector dialogue” said H. E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto CHIKOTI Secretary-General of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States in his welcome remarks.
During this first official meeting, attended by representatives of the private sector from across all OACPS regions, it was underlined that this Business Forum is one of the five “Subsidiary and Consultative Organs” foreseen under the Georgetown Agreement, with 3 main objectives:
- Promoting dialogue and collaboration between OACPS Governments, Regional Integration Institutions and the private sector at national, regional and continental levels within and between the 6 OACPS regions;
- Contributing to the formulation and implementation of private sector development policies; and
- Promoting knowledge sharing and information dissemination on private sector development issues, including the exchange of best practices between and within the 6 OACPS regions.
H. E. Mr. Samuel O. OUTLULE, Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana and Chairperson of the OACPS Subcommittee on Investment and Private Sector declared: “Your presence here today, albeit the very early or very late hour in your respective part of the globe, shows your commitment to this very important mission of fostering public-private sector dialogue and collaboration. I am profoundly reassured by the enthusiasm shown by our private sector gathered here tonight and I am confident that together we will be able to harness the strengthen and innovation of our private sector to adequately address the many challenges ahead.”
On behalf of the private sector, Mrs Mmantlha Sankoloba, Interim Chairperson of the OACPS Business Forum and CEO of the Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) commended the efforts of the OACPS on ensuring the involvement of the OACPS private sector: “I believe a platform such as this one, basically affords us all a chance to learn from each other’s best practices and lead thoughts on how to overcome pertinent hurdles. From the experiences of other nations are also something that I really value, getting to explore the practices each and every one of us has in place at their respective institutions.”
This meeting also endorsed the 12 candidates (2 per region) who volunteered to serve as initial Board Members of the OACPs Business Forum: during the coming weeks, they will elect the President and 5 Vice Presidents as office bearers. They will be tasked with developing the Forum’s constitute documents, proposing operational modalities and preparing a six months’ work programme of the Business Forum.