On September 10, 2007, La Francophonie secretary general Abdou Diouf met with his counterpart, Commonwealth secretary general Don McKinnon, according to a long tradition of regular meetings between the secretaries general of the two organizations. Mr. Diouf’s press release for the event noted that their discussions touched on policy and the economy, two areas in which the Commonwealth and La Francophonie already cooperate.
The press release stated that Mr. Diouf and Mr. McKinnon discussed major international matters of common concern, including negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the promotion of good governance, and the issue of southern hemisphere debt.
This meeting was an opportunity to take stock of their joint development cooperation efforts and, in particular, the project entitled “Trade Policy Formulation, Negotiation, and Implementation Capacity-Building.” According to the press release, this project, with the cooperation of the European Union, “seeks to address the shortage of human and technical resources for trade negotiation in developing countries.” The press release also points out that Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and the Commonwealth have since 2005 undertaken “to assist the 79 countries of the ACP [African, Caribbean, and Pacific] group to take advantage of opportunities for world trade by providing them with the high-level expertise they need in order to master the procedures for trade policy formulation, negotiation, and implementation.” In his press release, Mr. Diouf declared that “this support is all the more significant as ACP states have since 2002 been involved in negotiations for an economic partnership with the European Union, negotiations which are scheduled to conclude on December 31, 2007.”
The next meeting of the two secretaries general will take place in Paris, France, in 2008.
For more information, we invite you to read the complete text (French only) of Mr. Diouf’s press release.