A CARICOM Mission to Africa

Mr. Bernard Black, Senior Project Officer, Customs and Trade Policy at the CARICOM Secretariat

Late in September four years ago, Mr.  Bernard Black travelled to Africa. It was his first visit to the continent, which carried a personal significance.

His mission was an important one: to share the experiences of CARICOM integration, specifically the Region’s development in the area of trade relations with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) – the world’s oldest customs union. SACU comprises Botswana; the Kingdom of Eswatini; the Kingdom of Lesotho; the Republic of Namibia; and South Africa.

A Senior Customs and Trade Policy Officer at the CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Black landed in Windhoek, Namibia, where SACU is headquartered, after a 20-hour journey from Georgetown, Guyana – where the CARICOM Secretariat is located – via Barbados, the United Kingdom, Dubai and South Africa.

It was an unforgettable experience.

While he made the long trip to African, representatives from trade groupings and other international organisations have travelled to the Caribbean, interacting with officials of the CARICOM Secretariat as they navigate the integration processes in their corners of the world. It is testimony that they consider CARICOM as a model among integration groupings of developing countries. The Secretariat, for example, has hosted representatives from SACU, from the Southern African Development Community, the Pacific Islands Forum, the Central American Integration System, the African Union Commission and the Economic Community of West African States.

Heads of Government of CARICOM and Africa hold their first summit on 7 September 2021.

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