The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on Thursday, November 16, 2023, debunking claims making the rounds in the public that it had signed the “Samoa Agreement.” The agreement is believed to tolerate and protect the rights of homosexuals, transgenders, and other unconventional sexual behaviours. The Samoa Agreement is a partnership deal between member states of the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union that covers six key priority areas.
These areas include: human rights, democracy, and governance; peace and security; human and social development; environmental sustainability and climate change; inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development; and migration and mobility. The Ministry clarified that the country was not represented at the signing and is currently scrutinizing the pact’s alignment with the country’s domestic laws. Francisca Omayuli, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the general public is invited to know that Nigeria was not represented at the signing ceremony, which took place in Samoa on November 15, 2023, and hence has not signed the agreement.
Overarching framework for EU relations with African and other countries.
Relevant Nigerian stakeholders are currently studying the instrument with a view to ensuring that its provisions do not contravene Nigeria domestic legislation.” According to the European Council, it is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The new EU-OACPS partnership agreement will serve as the new legal framework for EU relations with 79 countries. This includes 48 African, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific countries.” The website notes that around two billion people are covered by the agreement.
Also, the agreement aims to strengthen the capacity of the EU and the ACP countries to address global challenges together. It also includes a common foundation at ACP level combined with three regional protocols for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific with a focus on the regions’ specific needs. On 20 July 2023, the council approved the signature and provisional application of the partnership agreement, as the new legal framework for the next twenty years, succeeding the Cotonou agreement. It was officially signed on 15 November 2023 by the EU and its member states and OACPS members in Samoa. Its provisional application starts on the first day of the second month after the signature.
Cotonou agreement immediately preceded the Samoa agreement.
Previously, there was the Cotonou agreement, which was adopted in 2000 to replace the 1975 Lomé Convention. It was concluded for a 20-year period. It was initially due to expire in February 2020. Its provisions have been extended until the new partnership agreement between the EU and the ACP countries provisionally applied or entered into force. The agreement aimed to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty and contribute to the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy.
It was based on three pillars: development cooperation; economic and trade cooperation; and political dimension. Some of the institutions in the Cotonou agreement include the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the ACP-EU committee of ambassadors (which assists the Council of Ministers and monitors the implementation of the Cotonou agreement), the ACP-EU development finance cooperation committee (which examines the implementation of development finance cooperation and monitors progress), the joint ACP-EU ministerial trade committee (which discusses any trade-related issue of concern to all ACP states), and the joint ACP-EU parliamentary assembly.
EU support programs and initiatives for ACP states.
On the current areas of activity, the EU supports programs and initiatives benefiting multiple countries in the group of ACP states. It also has programs for further regional economic growth and development for specific regions within the ACP. The EU finances most of its development programs for ACP partner countries through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI). Also, the EU has negotiated a series of economic partnership agreements (EPA) with the 79 ACP countries. They aim to create a shared trade and development partnership backed up by development support.