Comprised of 79 Member States from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) strives to achieve the sustainable development of its Members and their progressive integration into the world economy.
To accelerate the political, economic and social advancement of our peoples through good governance, poverty eradication, promotion of trade, sustainable development and equitable integration into the global economy.
To become the leading transcontinental organization working in solidarity to improve the living standards of our people through South-South and North-South cooperation.
Solidarity, peace and security, good governance and the rule of law, social justice, unity and diversity
Comprised of 79 Member States from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) strives to achieve the sustainable development of its Members and their progressive integration into the world economy. Our members are: Angola – Antigua and Barbuda – Belize – Cape Verde – Comoros – Bahamas – Barbados – Benin – Botswana – Burkina Faso – Burundi – Cameroon – Central African Republic – Chad – Congo (Brazzaville) – Congo (Kinshasa) – Cook Islands – C ôte d’Ivoire – Cuba – Djibouti – Dominica – Dominican Republic – Eritrea – Eswatini – http://ethiopianembassy.be/ – Fiji – Gabon – Gambia – Ghana – Grenada – Republic of Guinea – Guinea-Bissau – Equatorial Guinea – Guyana – Haiti – Jamaica – Kenya – Kiribati – Lesotho – Liberia – Madagascar – Malawi – Maldives – Mali – Marshall Islands – Mauritania – Mauritius – Micronesia – Mozambique – Namibia – Nauru – Niger – Nigeria – Niue – Palau – Papua New Guinea – Rwanda – St. Kitts and Nevis – St. Lucia – St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Solomon Islands – Samoa – São Tomé and Príncipe – Senegal – Seychelles – Sierra Leone – Somalia – Sudan – Suriname – Tanzania – Timor Leste – Togo – Tonga – Trinidad and Tobago – Tuvalu – Uganda – Vanuatu – Zambia – Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), as defined by the revised Georgetown Agreement (2019), shall be to:
When the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, it created an avenue for cooperation with the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the six signatory countries: Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, i.e. essentially West and Central African countries with ties to France.
The accession of the United Kingdom (UK) to the European Community (EC) in 1973 paved the way for the extension of the Europe-Africa cooperation to the Commonwealth countries, whether African, Caribbean, or Pacific. Later on, Spain’s accession also impacted the membership of the ACP Group.
The Georgetown Agreement, the OACPS’ fundamental charter, was signed in 1975 when the First Lomé Convention came into force. It articulated the rules for cooperation among the countries of three continents, the main link being shared aid from the EC.
These three Conventions, each spanning a five-year period, were accompanied by the 4th, 5th and 6th EDFs. These were implemented until 1990, when Lomé IV was signed. During the negotiation of Lomé IV, world-changing events occurred that would rock Central and Eastern Europe, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall.
A notable achievement of ACP-EU cooperation is that it introduced a new type of relationship between rich and poor countries based on solidarity and partnership, an independent involvement in political arrangements to boost bilateral relations.
The Lomé conventions granted non-reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. They included many more innovations than the Yaoundé Conventions. For example, agricultural sectoral programmes first appeared in the Lomé Conventions. In addition, a compensatory mechanism was created under Stabex to offset losses in export earnings due to price fluctuations.
The expression “political dialogue”, or policy dialogue, made its appearance in Lomé III, but political dialogue would only really be introduced in Lomé IV. Negotiated during the turmoil of 1989, that Convention enshrined respect for Human Rights as a fundamental clause.
In the meantime, the structural adjustment established by the Bretton Woods Institutions had been supported by Europe and was taken on board in Lomé IV. The major innovation of that Agreement still remains its duration. Signed for a 10-year period, it included two 5-year Financial Protocols and the 7th and 8th EDFs. Lomé IV was signed by 68 ACP countries and 12 EU Member-States.
The negotiation of the second financial protocol led to more changes than had been anticipated. The European public displayed a certain lack of interest in cooperation at the end of the Cold War. The clause on respect for Human Rights and democratic principles was by then an essential aspect of cooperation, and measures for the suspension of aid made their appearance.
Twenty years of ACP-EU cooperation and the consolidation of solidarity among ACP countries had forged a cohesive bond which made the breaking up of the ACP bloc or any weakening of the ACP entity unthinkable.
In the wake of this transformation 77 ACP States signed the Cotonou Agreement on 13 June 2000. Cuba, candidate to the Agreement was, unfortunately, unable to sign. Nonetheless, the OACPS (known at the time as the ACP Group of States) decided to include Cuba, in the hope that the problems which prevented its accession to the ACP-EU partnership would be resolved in the near future.
The Cotonou Agreement, by its very existence, represents a significant success for the OACPS. It was forged from the Group’s determination to maintain its solidarity – a solidarity which certainly convinced the OACPS’ European partners. In addition, the Agreement, despite not meeting all the demands of the OACPS, took on board their fundamental concerns.
First of all by its duration – 20 years – sufficient time to enable ACP Member-States to get onto the road to development and, especially, to be integrated into the global market. Indeed, the Agreement envisaged the removal of non-reciprocal trade preferences granted to ACP countries, but only after a long transition period.
This transitional phase of ACP-EU trade cooperation from 2000-2007 required the approval of the WTO, which was hard-won. In November 2001, the determination of the ACP countries, bolstered by the unstinting support of the European Union at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference, enabled them to claim a decisive victory, perhaps for their future: they obtained a WTO waiver for the trade chapter of the Cotonou Agreement.
On that occasion, the ACP Group stood out as one of the emerging Groups from the developing world. It was firm but realistic, opting resolutely for free trade while remaining determined to protect its vital interests.
The major options within the Cotonou Agreement were not imposed on the ACP but constitute a deliberate choice and are part of the ongoing development of the Group´s member-countries, be it the choice of economic liberalisation or a stronger affirmation of political dialogue. This involves the democratization of ACP countries and the involvement of new actors in the implementation of cooperation.
Almost all ACP member-countries had already undergone a political renewal prior to the signing of the Cotonou Agreement, and although some countries are still experiencing problems like civil war, they are increasingly few in number. The rise in democracy is seen particularly in the progressive development of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, organ of cooperation between the European Parliament and parliaments of ACP countries, into a true Joint Parliamentary Assembly of democratically-elected parliamentarians, in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Cotonou Agreement.
Twenty-five years of cooperation have demonstrated that, albeit enabling developing countries to survive, aid cannot create development. Trade, by contrast, is a determining factor of development. The Cotonou Agreement promotes the strengthening of real economic partnership through new trade agreements, among other things. The Group has been making tremendous efforts to attract foreign investment and has been trying, therefore, to establish a favourable legal, economic and political environment to achieve that objective.