Diasporian News of Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Source: Daniel Okaiteye

Ghana’s New Envoy Presents Credentials In Mali

Ghana’s new Ambassador to the Republic of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Mahmud Khalid, on Tuesday, 12th August, 2014, had the opportunity to present his Letters of Credence to the President of the Republic of Mali, His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in an official ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in the capital, Bamako.

The brief but impressive ceremony was also attended by the Malian Foreign Minister, Hon. Abdoulaye Diop, the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, the Joint Chief of Staff of the Malian Military, among other personalities.

At exactly 16.00hrs, His Excellency Mahmud Khalid and his spouse, Madam Alimata Yahaya were led in a convoy from their official Residence to the Presidential palace, a distance of approximately six (6) kilometres, all the while being escorted by three (3) motor dispatch outriders. Accompanying the Ambassador in a separate vehicle were three (3) officers of the Embassy, including Mr. Daniel Okaija Okaiteye, the Minister-Counsellor/DHM, Mr. David Sefa-Boakye, the Counsellor/Consular Officer and Mrs. Saratu Seidu, First Secretary/Accounting Officer at the Mission.

One notable spectacle about the ceremony was the distinctive traditional attire (smock) worn by His Excellency the Ambassador to suit the occasion; the Head of Mission’s smart turn-out in his characteristic northern traditional attire attracted some admirable comments from His Excellency the President. The rest of the entourage were dressed in their colourful Kente cloth, adding splendour to the event.

Immediately upon arrival, H.E. Ambassador Khalid was led to inspect a Guard-of-Honour from a detachment of the Malian Army, while the rest of the entourage looked on. Following from that, the Ambassador and his staff were taken to the ceremonial hall where his presence was announced to the President by the Director of State Protocol.

In a discussion following the presentation, Ambassador Mahmud Khalid informed President Keita that by virtue of the strong historical and blood ties between the two countries, the Government and People of Ghana had been observing with keen admiration Mali’s determination to ensure the economic reconstruction of the country, the consolidation of peace, national unity as well as the assurance of the territorial integrity of the state.

According to H.E. the Ambassador, Ghana as the current Chair of ECOWAS had proved itself a responsible member of the sub-regional bloc and for that reason, even after spreading itself further afield militarily, the country found it expedient to still dispatch troops to Mali in support of a friendly and sisterly country.

His Excellency the new Ambassador also seized the opportunity to brief his host about the Government of Ghana’s port infrastructure expansion programme which had started at both the Tema and Takoradi harbours to enhance port operations with the needs of Ghana’s landlocked neighbours in mind. Ambassador Khalid further submitted that plans were afoot to extend rail services from the Tema and Takoradi ports to an Inland port at Boankra in the Ashanti Region, in order to increase the haulage of goods to Ghana’s landlocked neighbours, thus, fortifying Ghana’s trade links with those countries.

On his part, H.E. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita reminisced on the productive historical bond of friendship that had existed between Ghana and Mali and expressed his expectation for further cooperation to translate the excellent bilateral ties to a mutually rewarding economic relationship for the benefit of their respective peoples. According to the President, the future for both Ghana and Mali remained promising and pledged his government’s preparedness to collaborate with Ghana and other member states for a successful integration project in the sub-region.

His Excellency the President Keita also recalled his participation in the recent ECOWAS Summits in Accra and expressed his confidence in Ghana as the current Chair of ECOWAS to bring about progress and greater development in West Africa. Following the successful presentation of his Letters of Credence, H.E. Khalid officially commences his worka as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ghana to Mali.

It may be worth noting that, a considerable number of Ghanaians in Mali are itinerant traders plying the route between Ghana and Mali, while others also are engaged in traditional medicine practice. Other prominent vocations associated with Ghanaians in Mali include the processing of cowhide (wele) for export to Ghana, the sale of second-hand clothing, vehicle spare parts and tailoring. There are also Ghanaians working with mining companies such as AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold Holdings, etc. Professionals such as Geological Engineers, Agronomists, and Teachers, and some workers in international institutions and non-governmental organisations could also be found in the country.

To date, Ghana continues to be held in high esteem in Mali; in the afterglow of the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union of yester years. The role played by Ghana under Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the political emancipation of Mali from French colonial rule appears to have been permanently etched in the collective memories of many Malians. The arrival of Ghana’s new envoy to Mali is, therefore, expected to propel further the good bilateral ties between the two countries.