In an effort to expand Barbados’ diplomatic footprint, as part of the national effort toward economic reconstruction and business generation, three new missions will be established in the upcoming financial year.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, during a COVID-19 update and press conference this evening, highlighted the recent and proposed activities of the Ministry, including the establishment of three new missions.
“New diplomatic offices will be opened in Ghana, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates with the intention of expanding Barbados’ South-South cooperation, strengthening our global people-to-people contact, and also contributing to the national effort toward economic reconstruction, business and revenue generation, increased investment, and expanded trade in Barbados’ goods and services, including tourism,” Minister Walcott stated.
He further explained the rationale for establishing diplomatic offices in Ghana, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“These new missions will be at the forefront of efforts to identify new and emerging sectors that can propel and expand the Barbadian economy, and also to strengthen, advance and diversify bilateral and multilateral action to promote Barbados’ interests globally. Since Independence, our mantra has been “friends of all, satellites of none”; it is now time for us to widen our network of friends, especially in the face of COVID-19,” Senator Walcott said.
The Mission Office in Ghana, which is said to be the ancestral homeland of a large population of the Barbados’ population, will be established in Accra, and will work to advance multiple ongoing initiatives intended to foster a deep and mutually beneficial relationship between Barbados and Ghana.
It will also pursue new platforms to advance Barbados’ pursuit of economic growth opportunities both in Ghana and in other countries in western Africa.
In Kenya, the office will serve as Barbados’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office in Nairobi, which is the third largest United Nations Office in the world, and which is the headquarters for the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
Minister Walcott stated: “The Mission in Nairobi will, therefore, be able to ensure a heightened and sustained level of participation by Barbados in the work and deliberations of both of these organisations, which play an important role with respect to programmes and initiatives being undertaken in the island. On a bilateral level, it will also be used to facilitate the pursuit by Barbados of economic growth opportunities in other countries in eastern and southern Africa.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out that Barbados’ diplomatic presence in Kenya would be part of a shared CARICOM office space, and would be a working example of strengthened regional cooperation.
He said the establishment of an Embassy in Abu Dhabi would serve to significantly advance the growth of a stronger bilateral partnership with the United Arab Emirates, and would be a platform for the formation and strengthening of strategic alliances with other Gulf States.
Senator Walcott stressed that Government would be utilising technology more in the establishment of the new diplomatic missions in an effort to “revolutionise diplomatic activities”, and as a result, “these missions are going to be lean and mean”.
“We don’t need large embassies to expand our global footprints,” he added, and gave the commitment that Government would continue to do all that it could to strengthen its bilateral and multilateral relationships.