Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves will this week visit London before travelling to the West African nations of Nigeria and Ghana.
“I have a couple of meetings in London and then I go on to Nigeria,” he said on Sunday at Argyle International Airport in a video posted to the Facebook page of the Office of the Prime Minister, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Gonsalves is expected to arrive in Nigeria on Wednesday and will deliver a lecture on “”Technological Emancipation of Africa and the Caribbean in Digital Space and Global Drive for Reparation” at Bells University of Technology of Nigeria’s 15th Convocation ceremony on Friday.
He is scheduled to travel to Accra, Ghana on Sunday, where he will meet with the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Gonsalves said that former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo invited him to visit Nigeria when Obasanjo and President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Benedict Oramah visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August.
The prime minister said Obasanjo invited him to Nigeria “to address the question of emancipation of African technology within the digital space and to speak about the linkage between that issue and reparations”.
Gonsalves said that both of these issues touch and concern sustainable development and the sustainable development goals.
“Within that context, I will be doing the discussion. But, importantly, too, I was to talk with the leadership of the Bells University of Technology to have links with our own community college in my capacity as minister responsible for tertiary education,” Gonsalves said.
He said that SVG has to “develop very sharply, very markedly, science, technology and innovation beyond what we have developed already.
“That is why, for instance, we have been pushing the curricula into those areas and that’s why I am in quest of building a lab, modern science and technology innovation lab connected to the Community College and linked with the Global Campus of the University of the West Indies.”
Gonsalves said his visit to Nigeria is very important from the standpoint of tertiary education.
“My own lecture is, in a sense, part of the whole bundle of matters which carry me there,” he said, adding that he will then have “a very short visit to see the president of Ghana”.
He said he has met Akufo-Addo — who made an official visit to SVG in June 2019 — at different meetings on many matters.
“And West Africa, of course, is an area which is linked, umbilically to the people of the Caribbean because the enslaved African bodies, those who were stolen, seized and brought as property to the Caribbean as chattel to work on sugar plantations, people predominantly from Africa and throughout the Caribbean, that’s why their lineage is.
“So you have to build on an ongoing basis this particular joinder, particularly in respect of reparation but also solidarity through the Africa, Brazil, Caribbean, Diaspora Commission, which this government has proposed and which has gotten support form the African Union and from CARICOM.”
He noted that there is a significant number of Nigerians who came to SVG as students.
“Some of them, their funding arrangements were cut by the Nigerian government and they are doing good work here and they are regularising themselves and we have four Ghanaian students which we gave scholarships. Ghana has a link with us through the Ministry of Agriculture on matters relating to cocoa,” the prime minister said.
“Again, we have to build all these links and we share common positions on matters touching and concerning climate change, reform of the financial architecture, the IMF, the World Bank, availability or resources for these former colonies. We met together, recently, the G77 in Havana and there are other engagements we have had since then and this is just another one, but an important one with two vital countries in West Africa.”
The other members of Gonsalves’ delegation to West Africa are SVG’s High Commissioner to London, Cenio Lewis, press officer, Shevrell “Candyman” Mc Millan and security officer, Inspector of Police Irwin Adams.
The delegation is scheduled to return on Nov. 8.