Turning historical ties into economic cooperation: new high commissioner of Ghana accredited to Seychelles
Aviation, art and culture, tourism and fisheries are among areas of cooperation Ghana is aiming to further develop with Seychelles, in a bid to strengthen the existing bilateral and historical ties between the two countries.
This was highlighted by the new High Commissioner of Ghana, Kwesi Ahwoi, in an interview with the local press, this morning.
According to the high commissioner, Memorandum of Understanding [MoUs] which will lead to agreements in the various fields of cooperation are being worked on.
Ahwoi was speaking at State House in the island nation’s capital of Victoria, to present his credentials and hold discussions with the Seychelles President James Michel – a meeting he described as "very fruitful."
“All of us are looking forward to seeing this historical relationship turn into economic development relationship and cultural exchange programmes...There is interest on both sides to move the collaboration between the two countries a step higher than we are at the moment,” he told journalists after the meeting.
“We will set up a joint commission to form the framework within which these MoUs and others that will emerge subsequently will be handled.”
According to the new High Commissioner of Ghana, some of the agreements are expected to come into effect this year.
The desire and basis for extended cooperation between Ghana and Seychelles was laid last year when the Ghanaian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Hanna Serwaa Tetteh visited the island nation.
An administrative agreement allowing the two countries to strengthen their tuna exports towards the European market was among five agreements signed.
As per the agreement, both countries have made provision to buy fish from each other for export to Europe.
As for historical ties between Seychelles and Ghana, this dates back to the days of exile of King Prempeh I of the Ashanti people to the Indian Ocean archipelago almost 120 years ago.
Although King Prempeh later returned to Ghana, some of the Ashanti people settled in Seychelles and today Prempeh’s descendants are spread out across the archipelago.
Last year saw the visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago of the great grand-daughter of King Prempeh, Princess Molly Germaine Prempeh, to reconnect with members of her family.
The current King of the Ashanti people, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II also made a historical visit to Seychelles accompanied by a large delegation as the guest of honour at the Carnaval International de Victoria earlier this year.
According to Ahwoi, the visit is regarded as the start of the cultural relationship between the two countries.
“That to me was the beginning of the cultural relationship that should have been developed long ago because Seychelles gave a home to the exile the Ashantehene and his entourage… with the Ashantehene coming here therefore I will be hoping for that kind of exchanges and relationships.”
To be based in Pretoria, South Africa, Ahwoi intends to make frequent visits to Seychelles.
The new Ghanaian high commissioner will be serving a 4-year mandate.
By: Salifa Magnan and Sharon Uranie