RIGA - Latvia is interested in developing cooperation with Guinea-Bissau in IT and agriculture, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said following a meeting with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Communities of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Suzi Carla Barbosa.
According to Rinkevics, his talks with Barbosa focused on the development potential of bilateral relations between Latvia and Guinea-Bissau, especially in economy, the security situation in Western Africa, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as cooperation between the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
Rinkevics indicated that Latvia is cooperation in areas like information technologies and trade in agricultural produce, considering that Guinea-Bissau is one of the leading exporters of agricultural produce in the region. Interest was also expressed in cooperation in culture and education, as well as in developing political dialogue on the bilateral and regional level.
The ministers also discussed Russia’s war in Ukraine and agreed that it had a global impact. Barbosa underlined that the soaring prices of grain and mineral fertilizers were leaving a significant impact on many African countries, including Guinea-Bissau. The high mineral fertilizer prices are causing substantial loss to its agricultural sector. The president of Guinea-Bissau is the only African leader to have visited Ukraine since the war broke out.
Barbosa indicated that her visit to Latvia is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the Baltic country and explore trade opportunities with Latvia. The minister noted that Guinea-Bissau is a small country with a relatively small population, but that it does not mean that Guinea-Bissau is a small nation.
The minister noted that both countries have common interests and areas for potential cooperation like agriculture and high technologies. Barbosa said that on Tuesday she visited Riga Technical University.
Barbosa is the first official from Guinea-Bissau to visit Latvia since the establishment of diplomatic relations on July 14, 2021. As part of her visit, she had a meeting with the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, and the Speaker of the Saeima, Eduards Smiltens.
Guinea-Bissau currently holds the presidency of ECOWAS, which is one of the most important formats of regional integration in Africa and a significant partner to the European Union. The EU-ECOWAS Ministerial meeting took place on February 6.
The visit also featured a discussion titled “Women, Peace and Security”, at which Latvia was represented by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gunda Reire.