ACP-EU Council in Apia
There were no real surprises or unexpected developments at the
ACP-EU Council meeting which took place in Apia, Western Samoa, on 27 and 28
June, 1996. The session was preceded by an ACP Council, which saw the adoption
of three important decisions. The first of these was the appointment of a new
ACP Secretary-6eneral, Mr Ng'andu P. Magande of Zambia. The post had been vacant
for some time, following deadlock within the ACP Group over a successor to
Berhane Ghebray (see issue 155 of The Courier, p.6). The ministers also agreed
to hold a summit of ACP heads of government in Libreville, Gabon, during the
second half of 1997. This meeting is expected to focus heavily on the future of
ACPEU relations once the present Lomonvention has expired.
In the substantive area, the ACP Council adopted a resolution
deploring the suspension of cooperation with Equatorial Guinea. Ministers urged
the European Union to make use of the procedure in Article 366a of the revised
Lomonvention, and to set in train the consultation procedure envisaged in
This issue was raised again by the ACP side at the subsequent
ACP-EU Council. This meeting, which was presided over by Mrs Toya (Italian Under
Secretary for Foreign Affairs) and Mr Syamujaye (Zambia's Trade Minister) had a
relatively light agenda. There was a discussion about the Commission proposal
for a directive on the use of vegetable fats, other than cocoa fat, in chocolate
(see issue 158 of The Courier, p.35). Somalia also featured in the debate, with
representatives agreeing on the need to find ways of allowing this country to
benefit from Lomonvention provisions. The civil conflict in Somalia, and the
absence of an effective central administration have prevented the deployment of
regular development aid for many years, although significant amounts of
emergency assistance have been and are still being provided.
In addition, the ACP-EU Council approved two reports drawn up by
the development finance cooperation subcommittee and commodities sub-committee
respectively. Representatives were able to reach a compromise on two outstanding
points of contention in the resolution on development finance relating to
tenders and the dissemination of the user's guide.
Note was taken of the number of countries that have so far
lodged instruments of ratification for the revisad Lomonvention (Mauritius
agreement). At the time of the Apia meeting, only nine countries had ratified:
seven on the ACP side (Barbados, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Jamaica, Malawi,
Mauritius and Solomon Islands) and two EU Member States (Denmark and Sweden).
Appeals were made for the contracting parties to speed up their ratification
procedures so that the Eighth European Development Fund can come on stream as
speedily as possible.
The next ACP-EU Council meeting will take place in Luxembourg on
24 and 25 April 1997.
The government of Western Samoa deserves a special mention for
the warmth of their hospitality and the efficient way in which they organised
the Council meeting. Delegates from all sides were keen to express their
appreciation of the host country's efforts, which ensured the smooth running of
the various meetings and gave the visitors a real taste of this Pacific
country's unique culture. ed. S.H.
New ACP Secretary-General
Ng´andu Peter Magande, is no stranger to the challenge of
development at the grassroots. The new Secretary-General of the ACP Group, who
was born in 1947, began his working career as a provincial development officer,
planning and supervising projects in the Southern Province of his native Zambia.
He is an economics graduate of the University of Zambia and also holds a
master's degree in agricultural economics from Makerere university, Uganda.
From working in the field, he moved into government
administration, rising to the position of Permanent Secretary-a post which he
held in a number of ministries. Since the mid-1980s, he has had key jobs in a
number of Zambian enterprises (including Managing Director of the Zambia
National Commercial Bank) His most recent work has been on a project to develop
private sector participation in agricultural input and produce