The establishment of a dialogue and engagement forum between the African Continent and the Caribbean region is overdue given the historical ties and shared experiences, President Paul Kagame has said. The President was speaking at the inaugural Africa-CARICOM Summit, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The summit brought together leaders from the Caribbean Community and the African continent to discuss trade and investment opportunities between Africa and the Caribbean. Kagame said that establishing a permanent forum for dialogue between the African and Caribbean regions was not only a positive development but is also overdue given the ties and shared experiences of the two regions. “We also confront common challenges such as trade inequalities, vulnerability to climate change and the need for more resilient health systems. Our regions also have special requirements for adequate fiscal space, to finance pandemic recovery,” Kagame said. He noted that strengthening ties will be between regional organisations as well as citizens of the two regions. “Where we are aligned, we should not hesitate to consult each other, and make common cause in multilateral forums. On the horizon, we have COP26 in Scotland in November and for many of us, the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting in Rwanda in 2022. We are also all members of the new Organization of Africa Caribbean and Pacific States,” he said. The establishment of ties, he added, was a reminder of the value of bringing the two regions closer for the benefit of our economies and our people. “Africa and the Caribbean have a lot to offer one another, in the spirit of South to South cooperation, learning from each other’s experiences,” he noted. Among the recent cooperation avenues by the two blocs includes, African Union invitation of the Caribbean Community to be part of the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) for the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines which saw them benefit from bulk purchasing. The virtual summit was under the theme ‘Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration’. Participants at the event included Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community and the African Union, Chairs of CARICOM and the African Union Commission, and the Africa Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Secretaries-General of CARICOM and the Organisation of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the President of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).