The South American State, Suriname, has established its first African embassy in Accra, Ghana.
It would serve as a conduit for the enhancement of socio-political cooperation between the Surinamese government and the African continent including the African Union.
Aside facilitating people-to-people contacts and business-to-business opportunities, the embassy would promote cultural exchanges and visits for tourists via e-visa and e-tourist card.
Suriname Vice President, Michael Ashwin Adhin at the inaugural ceremony in Accra on Tuesday said the establishment of the embassy opened a new chapter to the bilateral relations and historic ties between the two countries which dated back to the transatlantic slave trade era.
With the inauguration coinciding with the commemoration of the Year of the Return for People of African Descent to Ghana, he said it signalled to the world that the people of Suriname had returned to the land of their forefathers.
“These strong bonds ensure that we are entering into a new phase of expanding political, economic as well as trade relations on the basis of mutual interest and benefit, to further the development of our peoples,” he said.
Mr Adhin said Suriname’s rich gold mines, bauxite and prospects of huge near shore and offshore deposits of oil and gas reserves in addition to its rainforest coverage of more than 93 per cent, abundance of freshwater that is conducive for farming and ecotourism, offered great opportunities for trade, investment, partnerships and job creation.
Additionally, he said Ghana’s acclaimed status as the economic centre of West Africa and gateway to the rest of the continent and Suriname’s geographical position in the shoulder of South America, which could function as Africa’s hub, through Ghana to Latin America and the Caribbean, presented enormous economic and financial opportunities for investments.
The Vice President commended the government of Ghana for its assistance in making the foreign policy objective of the Surinamese Government a reality and hoped that the bilateral bond would be advanced.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration expressed elation that the bilateral relations thirty-two years ago had blossomed.
She said the signing of four separate agreements on political consultations; visa exemption for diplomatic and service passport holders; a roadmap on the programme for cooperation and letter of intent for cooperation and collaboration in the field of diplomacy and international relations earlier that day, marked the beginning of greater things for the two countries.
She reaffirmed the government’s commitment to work closely with her Suriname counterpart for their mutual benefit, adding that Ghana also intends to establish a diplomatic representation in Paramaribo, Suriname soon.
“We may be divided by the Atlantic Ocean, but we are one and the same people with a common heritage,” Ms Botchwey, the Member of Parliament for Anyaa- Sowutuom in the Greater Accra Region said.
Present at the ceremony were ministers and other representatives of both countries and dignitaries from the diplomatic community.
BY JONATHAN DONKOH