Barbados Announces Plans to Open Diplomatic Missions in Africa
Barbados is set to open diplomatic missions in Africa for the first time in 50 years. The Caribbean nation will first open the missions in Ghana and Kenya and the rest of Africa in the coming years.
Announcing the decision, the country’s finance minister Ryan Straughn, said the move is aimed up opening Barbados to more opportunities. “We will be very shortly opening our mission in Ghana, which in a sense forms part of our very tangible outreach in leveraging opportunities for Barbados. Next year, we will set up a mission in Kenya as well,” he revealed.
The new missions, he emphasized, will carry on the works of the Commission of Pan-Africa Affairs, a now-defunct government organization that was responsible for mediating between Barbados and Africa. “We are going to Africa as a government, and bringing private sector members along to establish real roots by having a physical presence, and to build on the work the commission would have started,” he added.
The decision comes on the heels of a recent state visit to Ghana by the Bajan Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, where she held a joint press conference with her Ghanaian counterpart. “This is about two families discovering each other because our peoples have a common heritage. We have this historic opportunity to change the trajectory of centuries of history,” she emphasized.
She indicated that Ghana and Barbados share historical and philosophical similarities and that the two must work to derive maximum benefits. “We cannot go into the third decade of the 21st century without creating a ridge across the Atlantic, where the Atlantic must not be defined by the Middle Passage. It must be defined by the return.” She further decried western influence on the two countries, a situation she says accounts for their lack of progress.
“For too long, our countries have been influenced by the things that either come from the North or go to the North, but we are not interested in the North or South, we are interested in going forward,” she concluded.
Barbados was founded as an independent state in 1966 centuries after British control. A significant number of the country’s Black population trace their ancestry to Ghana and other West African states through the slave trade.
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