St. Lucia and Africa strengthening ties

CASTRIES, St Lucia - St Lucia is seeking to strengthen its existing diplomatic relations with Africa, according to a senior official of the Kenny Anthony administration.

"We believe that we need to re-engage with the African states many of which have and continue to emerge as important economic entities and we need in that context to engage them to assist us with our own development," said Dr. Vaughn Lewis, the special advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking during a television programme here, Lewis, a former prime minister, said "we have lost influence in persuading Britain and the European Union as to what we want and it is those emerging African countries that will have the influence".
He said the need to deepen relations with the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent is in keeping with a new policy direction to review and realign the country's foreign relations.
Dr. Lewis said while St Lucia may not be able to rely on aid from Africa, the island can engage the continent to stimulate investment and to lobby on St Lucia's behalf in international circles.
He told television viewers that the African continent is a very important region for St Lucia as a small island developing state.
"The African continent as a source now of extensive raw material for China becomes a major player and that has meant that those countries have assumed a greater presence in international trade and negotiation than even a decade ago and that means that as small as we are Saint Lucia needs to find ways of engaging those regions and countries," he added.


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