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Plans to improve foreign relations

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Plans to improve foreign relations

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BOOSTING RELATIONS WITH Africa is high on Government’s agenda.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean made that clear today.
Speaking at the opening of the International Academy of African Business Development’s 15th annual conference at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, the minister said she was “currently reviewing” the draft of an improved foreign policy for the island.
McClean said the status quo had “an obvious shortcoming”, referring to inadequate engagement with countries on the African continent.
“The Government of Barbados through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is actively reviewing our foreign policy as we seek, among other things, to better engage with the continent of Africa and more especially sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, I am currently reviewing the draft of that policy,” she said.
“We have had diplomatic ties with many countries on the continent of Africa since becoming independent in 1996, we have engaged with the countries of the African continent in various multilateral fora, the United Nations, the African, Caribbean and Pacific. . .States, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank, for example.
“To date, however, not enough has been done in respect of bilateral engagements, particularly in respect of trade and other commercial activity,” she added, calling this fact “an obvious shortcoming,” McClean added. (SC)