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Peru hopes to become ECOWAS observer - Ambassador Portocarrero

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson

Peru hopes to become an observer state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the future, the Head of Mission of Peru to Ghana, Madam Patricia Raez Portocarrero, has announced.

She said Peru had participated in various integration processes such as the African Union (AU) and the South America-Africa Cooperation Forum.

The ambassador noted that currently Peru held the Presidency of the Andean Community, which includes Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador.

The country is also assuming the Presidency of the Pacific Alliance for a period of one year, ending July 2019.
“As you know, the Pacific Alliance is composed of Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Chile,” she added.
The ambassador made the announcement when she addressed a reception at the embassy’s residency in Accra on Wednesday to mark the 197th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Peru.
Ambassador Portocarrero stated that to date, Peru had removed 92 per cent of common customs tariffs, eliminated the requirement for visas within the group, established the Latin American Stock Market and a successful Education Scholarship Programme.
The embassies of the Pacific Alliance share premises in Accra and work together on developing different programmes, she noted.

Diplomatic relations
While her country marks its National Day, she said they were also celebrating 31 years of diplomatic relations between Peru and Ghana.
She stressed that Peru had been working diligently to strengthen its ties with Ghana, in areas such as economic, political and cultural affairs.
The ambassador mentioned some of the accomplishments as the proposal for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru and its counterpart in Ghana, which, hopefully, will be concluded this year.
“It will be very important to have this bilateral agreement as a monitoring mechanism that includes periodic meetings of senior officials and will strengthen cooperation in various areas,’’ she stated.
Also, she said they were negotiating an agreement for the exemption of visas for diplomatic and special passports.
She noted that there was also close support for the exchange of candidates in international organisations, adding that as a representative in the International Cocoa Organisation (ICO), there had been very active work in support of a sustainable world cocoa economy, yielding higher income for cocoa farmers, which was so important for Peru and Ghana.

Trade
Ambassador Portocarrero pointed out that there had been ongoing trade between Peru and Ghana, which saw a 55 per cent increase in 2017 in 2016.
She indicated that their goal was to diversify the products exported and imported for value addition.
She added that there was still much potential in that area and expressed the hope that the business mission to Peru, organised with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, would see a mission of Peru business entrepreneurs visiting Ghana soon.


Projects
Madam Portocarrero announced that some projects had been developed with the University of Ghana and mentioned them as support in academic events and the prize “Vale un Peru” (Worth a Peru) to the best student seeking a degree in the Spanish Language Programme.
She said they had also carried out projects of cooperation with schools in Ghana, among them the St Martin De Porres School and Ebenezer Senior High School, among others, supported by the UNHCR and the Varkey Foundation.

Peru
The Ambassador emphasised that Peru was home to ancestral cultures, from one of the oldest in the world, the Caral, to one of the most extensive and developed of ancient times and the Inca Empire, based in the Andes.
One of its landmarks is the Citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the new Wonders of the World.
Ambassador Portocarrero said Peru was a multi-ethnic country, with a significant number of African descendants who have contributed to the development in such areas as literature, science, music, gastronomy and sports.
She said last June, they celebrated the Month of Afro-Peruvian Culture, adding that in October, they would also celebrate the Day of African Peruvian Friendship.
In attendance were the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Members of Parliament (MPs), members of the diplomatic corps, the Previan community, religious and traditional leaders.