On 6 March 2020 AfREC members met via Zoom with Mr Gregory Andrews, the Australian High Commissioner-designate to Ghana and Australia’s first Indigenous High Commissioner and Ambassador to Africa, for pre-posting consultations. Mr Andrews has subsequently commenced the role.
AfREC participants included Dr David Mickler, Prof. Kadambot Siddique, Prof. Mark Jessell, Dr Muhammad Dan Suleiman, Ms Jo Eldridge, Mr Isaac Frimpong, Mr Isaac Mensah and Mr Seth Appiah-Mensah.
The meeting canvassed Australia’s relations with Ghana and wider West Africa, AfREC’s research and education networks—including strong links with the University of Ghana through the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) and Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group (WUN GAG)—as well as discussing issues of common interest and concern to Australia and the region and different approaches to conceiving and practicing international diplomacy.
AfREC is very much looking forward to engaging with Mr Andrews in this important role, continuing the supportive relationship we had with his predecessor Mr Andrew Barnes.
In his welcome message upon assuming the post, Mr Andrews stated:
“The Australian High Commission is accredited to nine countries in West Africa. I am thus honoured to have this role as Australia’s representative to 120 million people in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Australia’s relationship with Ghana is long and strong; we were one of the first countries in the world to recognise Ghana’s independence in 1957. Indeed, Australia’s High Commission became was the first foreign mission to be established in independent and democratic sub-Saharan Africa.
The role of the High Commission is to advance Australia’s political, economic and other interests in all of these countries, and to work with partner governments on issues of common interest, including human rights, gender equality, development, trade and investment, peace and security.
As Australia’s first Indigenous High Commissioner and Ambassador to Africa, I am particularly passionate about how Australia can share its 60,000 years of Indigenous history and cultures with Africa. From wildlife protection to arts, there is much to collaborate on and share across the region.
My family and I are excited to have the opportunity to live here in Ghana and to learn about the cultures and peoples of Ghana and other West African countries. We are looking to interact and engage with as many people as possible during our stay here.
I am committed to promoting collaboration and deep people-to-people links across many shared interests, including democracy, human rights, gender equality, good governance, conservation, waste management, free trade and investment.”
In formally announcing the appointment of Mr Andrews to the post in June, Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne stated:
“Today I announce the appointment of Mr Gregory Andrews as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Ghana. Mr Andrews will also be accredited to Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.
Australia’s relations with Ghana are underpinned by our shared democratic and Commonwealth traditions, and by the strong linkages between our people. The thousands of Ghanaians who have made Australia their home and similarly, the growing community of Australians living and working in Ghana, help to enrich both nations.
Australian companies working in the extractives sector also add significant value to Ghana’s economy. Australia has been pleased to support Ghana through development programs aimed at building capacity in mining, health, education and food security. Australia Awards scholarships and courses are a key part of this support and help to reinforce bilateral ties.
Mr Andrews is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently Assistant Secretary, International Organisations Branch. He has previously served overseas as First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Beijing.
In Australia Mr Andrews has served as the Threatened Species Commissioner, Department of Environment and Energy; Senior Adviser, Office of the Minister for the Environment; Assistant Secretary, Department of Climate Change and Energy; CEO, Indigenous Community Volunteers; and Assistant Secretary, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Mr Andrews holds a Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from the Australian National University; and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Newcastle.
I thank outgoing High Commissioner Andrew Barnes for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Ghana since 2017.”