By: Anthony Sedzro
Ambassador Jorge Alvarez , the Chief Director for Africa at the Mexican Foreign Ministry paid a working visit to Ghana in March. GB&F’s Anthony Sedzro spoke to him on the purpose of his visit.
Why did Mexico re-open its embassy in Ghana?
The very last embassy we opened in Africa is precisely in Ghana. And we did it in way that also indicates the times that we are going through.
We have opened an embassy here jointly with three other countries – Columbia, Peru and Chile- these four countries have formed what is called the Pacific Alliance. This alliance has been developing a vast integration process in order to enhance economic cooperation, trade and to facilitate and provide opportunities for their people.
So, we have opened an embassy here in Accra in other to send a clear message that we want to develop a stronger and closer relationship with Ghana. We have seen in recent times, particularly in the last year, some interesting developments. The Minister for Trade and Industry of Ghana, Alan Kyeremateng, paid a visit to Mexico last year. He attended a business summit and also had the opportunity to meet his trade counterpart and the Minister for Energy of Mexico. He made a huge impact at the business summit last October.
We are very keen to build on that visit and to take it further. From the Mexican side, already two delegations from Mexico’s trade agency, ProMexico, have visited Ghana, and vice-versa. There is going to be another visit by a Mexican trade mission to Ghana. So, what we are trying to do is that the political relationship is in a good standing, it needs to be enhanced and complemented by economics and business.
Which sectors of the economy will Mexican companies be interested in?
The bilateral trade between the two countries is quite small, there is no doubt about that. But we want to build on this relationship and to look into some of the specifics. There is the opportunity for the private sectors of the two countries to work together on industrial parks, agriculture, health services, housing, automobile, and so on.
Who are some of the officials you have met while in Ghana?
I have had the opportunity to meet with Ghana’s Minister for Agriculture, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Deputy Minister for Trade, The Speaker of Parliament, The Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a few others.
I have also paid a visit to the University of Ghana, Legon where I met the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost. I am happy that Legon has a Department for Latin American Studies. Officials from Legon have already been to Mexico last year and they have signed an MoU with four universities in Mexico and they have explored areas for research for both their lecturers and students.
What have been the benefits of opening the embassy in Ghana?
In less than three years after we opened an embassy here, we do have the first sound and solid ground to build upon and that is why I have come here to take stock of this, do consultations and to take a closer look into what is happening.
We are looking forward also to see in the future the Ghanaian government taking a decision to establish an embassy in Mexico City and we would love to see a diplomatic mission there. It is something that the Minister for Trade has brought to the attention of the Ghanaian Cabinet and we know that this is something that will further enhance our relations.
We know that there has to be different players in this effort. We have now a Ghana-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Ghana and it launched its website last month. The Mexican embassy in Ghana also has a new website and we see this as a very timely moment to do it.
Ghana is going through a very interesting time just like Mexico. Mexico wants to diversify its relations, we are looking into new markets, emerging markets, we want some of our expertise and knowledge to work in Africa so you will realise that I have come really excited.
I am really glad that some of the things that we envisioned when we opened the embassy here are coming to fruition in a relatively shorter time.