Senator Hylton Calls for Greater Collaboration Between the Caribbean and Africa


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton has stressed that the Caribbean and Africa need to collaborate more on opportunities in the international arena.
“We need to identify opportunities for a common agenda to assist in driving our development, bearing in mind that in the global economy, as currently structured, we are all comparatively weak and near the bottom of the ladder. Competition among ourselves will not get any of us up the ladder,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at the opening session of the African Union Caribbean Diaspora Conference in London, on April 24.
Mr. Hylton said there is also a need to conceptualise on the development of the two regions and how to achieve this development, and to determine how to best use the Diaspora in the development process.
“The summit and the preparatory process provide us with a unique opportunity, at a historic point in time to reflect fundamentally on the purpose of Africa and the Caribbean getting together. The purpose must be about planning and engendering development; engendering a process of development in these two unique areas of the world, which would provide for greater rootedness and the restoration of the confidence of the African people,” he said.
Noting that the Tans-Atlantic slave trade gave birth to the African Diaspora, Senator Hylton said the key official objective behind the observation of the bicentennial commemoration was two-fold.
“On one hand it is about educating people about the legacies of slavery, which remain throughout Africa and the Diaspora, and on the other hand to highlight the greatness of our African ancestry in talent, fortitude, brilliance, and creativity,” the Minister pointed out.
He noted that while these were important objectives for Africans and African leaders and Jamaicans, there must be a deeper significance. One aspect, he said, must be how to use this education and cultural reawakening to propel real development in Africa and in independent developing countries, such as those in the region.
Senator Hylton said another aspect must be to confront the conditions that have “fuelled a movement of Africans and people of African descent over the last 50 years, numerically comparable and in some cases under conditions no less treacherous than the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”
The conference was also addressed by the Foreign Minister for South Africa, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma , who said she hoped that the conference would revive the spirit of the Pan African movement.
A follow-up to a similar meeting held in Jamaica last year, the conference featured a panel discussion which looked at issues of co-operation for development and sharing skills in education, technology and training; co-operation in the field of literature and the performing arts; economic co-operation, including commodity pricing, investment matters, trade issues, and the impact of globalisation; co-operation on health issues; and gender equality.

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