Colombia and Africa, hand in hand

Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, Mrs Angela Ospina de Nicholls of the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation (APC - Colombia) and Mr Carlos Andres Barahona Niño, Ambassador of Colombia to South Africa

10 June 2021

The President of Colombia Mr Ivan Duque Marquez sent his General Director, Mrs. Angela Ospina de Nicholls, of the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation (APC - Colombia) to enhance relations with the African continent. The envoy concluded an agreement between APC-Colombia and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) at a signing ceremony held at their headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Speaking with the Diplomatic Society Mrs Ospina de Nicholls and Mr Carlos Andres Barahona Niño, Colombia’s Ambassador to South Africa said the agreement is considered as a milestone in Colombia-Africa relations based on the principals of South-South Cooperation (SSC). Even though the geographic distances between the two are great they share a common history. As a matter of fact around one fifth of Colombians are Afro descendants.

The mandate is therefore to establish a link with a key multilateral agency AUDA-NEPAD and boost the partnership and dynamics within the framework of the African Unions (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and SDGs. The Agencies, APC- Colombia and AUDA-NEPAD consulted over a 12 month period and developed a 2- Year Action Plan with 6 priority areas – Technical tutorship and mechanisms, entrepreneurship and the orange economy, environment resilience, emergent technology and research, agriculture and production chains, and nutrition and food security. The US$200 000 financial assistance will be implemented in technical projects based on the exchange of best practices, building capacity and technical assistance.

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“It took 30 hours to travel from Colombia to South Africa,” says de Nicholls. “Our goal is to be recognized in Africa as a technical leader that promotes and manages Colombia’s international cooperation with innovation and effectiveness, to respond to global, continental and national priorities,” explains Managing Director de Nicholls about the integral role of APC-Colombia.

De Nicholls has extensive experience in the public sector and has dedicated her career to improving the lives of her compatriots, reinforcing citizens to exercise their rights, rural development and violence prevention among others. As the granddaughter of Mariano Ospina Perez, former President of Colombia, her mission to Africa is a clear indication of the importance of Colombia’s relations with Africa and the focussed effort to build and further strengthen relations.

The work of art is becoming known as the orange economy, explained Ambassador Barahona Niño. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly spotlighted the magnitude of the contributions of artists who spend their time practicing and honing their talents and special abilities to earn a livelihood. It has become apparent that the work of artists creates many other jobs and employment in the technical fields, design and logistics among others. The creative and cultural industries are also pivotal to travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. Vaccinating as many people as quickly as is possible will be crucial in reviving these dynamic and substantial value and supply chains. The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sectors are re-inventing themselves as the pandemic is being brought under control.

The Ambassador and the Director extended invitations to all to visit Colombia and share in its natural beauty and experience the diversity of its people in all their splendour, while they explore opportunities for trade and investment.