BRUSSELS, Belgium, February 1, 2018–Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announce the opening of 4 new Belgian embassies in Africa. The existing diplomatic bureaus in Cotonou (Benin), Conakry (Guinea), Bamako (Mali) and Niamey (Niger) will be upgraded to the range of embassy as of today. In doing so, our country is demonstrating the importance it attaches to its relations with these countries, as well as to the situation in the region.
The current upgrade reinforces all fields of the Belgian foreign policy in a comprehensive approach: bilateral cooperation, diplomacy, development cooperation, defence, security and justice. It will make it easier to align all these policies.
Through the upgrade to the rang of embassy, our country will have henceforth full-fledged diplomatic representations in these four partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation. For the time being, the embassies will not provide additional consular services. The diplomatic offices were initially created as diplomatic offices for development cooperation.
The conversion will be implemented at a minimal cost. The current heads of mission will continue to manage the mission. Subsequently, new ambassadors will be posted on the occasion of the next diplomatic movements.
The comprehensive approach was also the main objective of the reform of the Belgian Technical Cooperation, the Belgian development agency which is called “Enabel” since 1 January this year.