Minister commissions new chanceries for missions in Brussels, Berlin, Geneva

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has chalked yet another feat by commissioning three new chancery edifices for it missions in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, after performing similar event to open it ultra-modern passport head office last Friday in Accra.

The edifices located in the national capitals of Brussels, Berlin and Geneva respectively, were commissioned separately on Wednesday November 18, 2020 with various heads and staffs, participate keenly in the events.

The three events, performed virtually by the sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, form part of effort by government to get Ghana's missions befitting buildings abroad.

This serves as welcome news, especially so because, it has been part of a grand policy for successive governments since independent.

It is expected that, the acquisition of these chanceries at very prime areas, will help strengthen bilateral relations and enhance consular services abroad.

In a brief speech ahead of the edifice commissioning in Brussels, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, said the facility was bought rather than renting it, because of it long-term cost-saving goals and the need to advance Ghana's interests in that country.

She said, for years, the Embassy in Brussels needed a befitting chancery for the growing number of staff and to effectively carry out its diplomatic engagements and so on.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, said she was excited the issue has been solved permanently. The beautiful edifice was funded from a US$50 million credit facility secured from Societe General by the government to procure new properties, as well as improving exiting state-owned properties abroad.

"The initiative is in furtherance of the grand policy, since independence, to acquire properties abroad for use by our diplomatic Missions, a strategic policy to which the government of H. E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, remains deeply committed".

She added "The investment in the chancery also reflects the determination of government to further strengthen Ghana's long standing bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Belgium which dates back to the 1960s".

The event which was graced by representatives of the government of the Kingdom of Belgium, was used to call on the European nation to re-open it embassy in Accra to further deepen the mutually beneficial relations.

She went on to draw a linkage between Belgium hosting the headquarters of the European Union (EU), the Organization of African Caribbean and Pacific States and other international organizations and Ghana's role in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) which has it secretariat in Accra.

The Minister, said Ghana's presence in that country is going to remain as a permanent feature of it foreign policy.

"As you are aware, the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area is hosted in Accra. Thus, like Belgium, Ghana has become the trade capital of the African Continent. It is, therefore, imperative for Accra and Brussels to step up engagements in a manner that will facilitate increased trade and investment cooperation between the two countries…..."

Following closely to the Brussels ceremony, was the event at Germany's capital Berlin, where publishers of the Daily Guide newspaper, Mrs. Gina Ama Blay, heads as Ambassador.

The beautiful edifice is a two storey building, but unlike the others, this one was given a facelift. The building which was funded with an Internally Generated Fund (IGF), has a 20-seater capacity conference room, modern ICT installations and enhanced security systems.

Although, the expansion of the edifice commenced in February this year, it had been on the drawing board from November 2016.

It is to help in the growing demand for consular services by Ghanaians in Berlin and other Ghanaian migrants from mostly Libya and Italy.

Madam Ayorkor Botctwey, who was full of praise for the successful completion and it handing over said it was gratifying the efforts put in by the mission to raise its own funds to complete the edifice. She tasked other missions to emulate the commendable work by their colleagues in Germany.

The Minister said the expansion work on the facility was in line with government's commitment to ensure missions abroad have befitting chanceries adding government was committed to addressing the infrastructure needs of missions abroad.

"These facilities will enhance the mission's capacity to provide rely consular services to members of the Ghanaian community in Germany and any other person, who will have the need of the services of the consular session.

The expansion of the consular section of the Berlin mission, is also in line with the effort by the government of Ghana, to improve infrastructure at Ghana missions abroad", the Minister said.

She added, "Furthermore, I believe the project symbolizes the sold and growing relationship between Ghana and Germany".

The sector Minister, charged the mission in Berlin to take good care of the chancery and ensure that they undertake regular maintenance measure having invested substantially in it to prolong it lifespan.

She urged the officials there to reciprocate the investment made for their welfare, saying "You owe it a duty to step up your diplomatic activities, to boost the relations between Ghana-Germany as government attaches great importance to Ghana-Germany relations".

Ambassador Blay, who regretted the Minister's inability to be present at the event as a result of the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, thanked her for her dedicated interest in getting the facility completed and commissioned at the scheduled time. Mrs. Blay, said the decision to give the facility a facelift was to help project Ghana in a "positive light".

She was delighted that the consular section, the second largest diplomatic mission in Europe, witnessed expansion under her. The last edifice to be commissioned was Ghana's permanent mission in Geneva Switzerland.

The last edifice to be commissioned was Ghana's permanent mission chancery in Geneva Switzerland.

Although, acquiring the facility took a very long time, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, said it was exciting it was finally in place.

The Geneva building is one of the beneficiaries of the US$50 million Societe Generale credit facility. It has at least 16 office spaces and a conference facility.

It is expected that, the mission will be poised to carry out diplomatic engagements in a serene environment that will spur productivity and enable the delivery of service for client satisfaction.

"Government attaches great importance to Ghana's multilateral relations.

It is, therefore, expected that the Mission will step up activities that promote and protect Ghana's interest in the various international organizations based in Geneva. We must ensure that our dealings bring economic benefits to Ghana and lead to improvement in the lives of Ghanaians".

Ambassador Ramses Cleland, expressed satisfaction and gratitude to President Akufo-Addo, Minister Ayorkor Botchwey, the contractors, and the staff in Geneva.

Ambassador Cleland, posited that the acquisition of the facility was a giant step forward in Ghana's foreign policy execution with potential to improve visibility and standing in the diplomatic community in that country.

Source: By Gifty Arthur/