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close this bookThe Courier N 159 - Sept - Oct 1996 - Dossier: Investing in People - Country Reports: Mali ; Western Samoa (EC Courier, 1996, 96 p.)
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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 provision.

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 marketing.