Honourable Ministers

The European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and Chief Negotiator, Mr. Neven Mimica

ACP Chief Negotiator Professor the Honourable Robert Dussey

Secretary General of the ACP Group of States, Dr Patrick Gomes,


Senior Government officials

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen

Good afternoon

May I, on behalf of His Majesty King Mswati III, Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, the Government and the People of the Kingdom of Eswatini, 'warmly welcome you all to this Kingdom'. It was the solemn wish of His Majesty to welcome you all in person, however, due to prior national engagements, he has assigned me to do so on his behalf.

It is a great honour and privilege for the Kingdom Eswatini to host the ACP-EU Africa Regional Protocol consultations. We are delighted to host you here, and please feel at home for the entire duration of your stay in the Kingdom. You are all welcome to extend your stay so as to explore the beauty and attractions that this country has to offer while mingling with the friendly people of Eswatini. We are a modern nation with deep rooted pride in our culture and traditions celebrated with different events throughout the year that bring us together as a people to celebrate our heritage.

Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Participants, in its pursuit of sustainable economic growth and development, the Kingdom of Eswatini highly values its relations with its neighbouring countries and the African continent at large as well as with the European Union. We seek to strengthen these relations for a stronger and greater African integration and a fair and balanced partnership with the EU. Therefore, we are grateful to both the European Union and our ACP African sister nations for allowing the Kingdom of Eswatini the privilege to host these ACP-EU Consultations on the Africa Regional Protocol in the context of the negotiations for a new Partnership Agreement between the EU and the ACP.

I am informed that the EU has already held similar High-Level regional consultations with the Pacific region in Samoa on 26 February 2019 and with the Caribbean region in Jamaica on 15 April 2019. And now, it is the turn of Africa to consult with the EU in order to engage on the specific strategic priorities of the Parties.

The outcome of these consultations will serve as a beacon to guide our negotiators as they embark on real negotiations, in the coming days. It is easy to set the strategic priorities of our future partnership. I say easy because African Leaders have already set the agenda for Africa’s development for the coming years until 2063.

Agenda 2063 spells out the Africa we want. And the “Africa We Want” has in summary seven aspirations.

These are;

  • A prosperous Africa founded on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
  • A peaceful and secure Africa
  • An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  • An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of the African people, especially its women and youth, and cares for its children; and last but by no means the least
  • Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner

It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to agree how, and in what areas, the future partnership between Africa and the European Union will contribute to meet Africa’s aspirations as enshrined in Agenda 2063. Africa set this agenda six years ago, and I believe we are on the right path to fulfil its mandate.

Going further afield, we also have, as an international community, set the global agenda 2030. This is an agenda with a relatively shorter time frame.

Agenda 2030 is a plan of action for the people, the planet, and prosperity. It will require the collaboration of all countries, acting in partnership, to take bold and transformative steps needed to place the world on a more sustainable path. In essence, this is an agenda for transforming global society. Africa is part of that society and should play its rightful role in partnership with its friends.

The European Union has been a significant partner for the ACP and for Africa for many years. Nonetheless, there is scope and opportunity to strengthen our cooperation and collaboration as partners even further.

The task ahead of us is important and laden with great expectations. An important task to deliver to our peoples is a partnership agreement that ignites hope for prosperous, sustainable, stable, peaceful, gender balanced and inclusive societies in Africa and in Europe at a time when multilateralism, solidarity and the rule of law are under threat.

Together, we can match up to this surmountable task and much more. I call on you to dedicate yourselves to start a journey today that will map out our future together.

The Kingdom of Eswatini is ready to play its part and support that process.  Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I take this opportunity, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare these consultations officially opened.

Thank you. May God bless us all.

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