Bahrain-Africa to bolster ties
Manama, September 19, 2012
Bahrain's relationship with African states took a major step forward this week with talks to strengthen political, economic, cultural and tourism co-operation.
A delegation from the African Union Commission (AUC) was in Bahrain to meet government representatives and details of planned agreements were announced during a press conference at the InterContinental Regency Bahrain yesterday.
AUC Cabinet chief of staff John Shinkaiye said the result could be a surge in African investment in Bahrain and the GCC.
"We are looking to establish more business and enhance our relationship with GCC states and in particular want to develop bilateral relations with Bahrain," he added.
He revealed agreements laying the foundations for future co-operation were expected to be signed on behalf of Bahrain by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Shinkaiye also revealed the AUC was seeking to consolidate its relationships with all six GCC states, saying Africa's untapped resources could be of use to the GCC.
"There is a lot of specialisation, especially in the financial sector, in the Gulf that we are looking at to increase our share in the world trade," he explained.
He added an agreement with the AUC and the Arab League was already in the pipeline and another with the GCC specifically could be on the cards.
"We are focusing on security areas to work out deals in conflict-hit African countries," he said.
"We were the first organisation to deal with problems related to security in Sudan, Somalia and Mauritania and want to extend this co-operation with others."
Meanwhile, head of the Premier's Court Shaikh Hussam bin Isa Al Khalifa announced the Prime Minister had been invited to Ethiopia to sign key agreements with the AUC which could herald a new era in the kingdom's relationship with African states.
"Africa and the Arab world have a historic relationship and Africa is rich in terms of its culture and natural resources, which calls for enhancing political and economic co-operation between the two countries," he said.
He revealed he had travelled to Addis Ababa in June to pave the way for MoUs.
"Food security is one of many aspects we are looking at," he added.
AUC spokesman Noureddine Mazni announced that Bahrain's ambassador to Egypt will also be a non-resident ambassador to the African Union based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. – TradeArabia News Service