Without diplomacy, the cries of bullets will crackle much more around the world – His Excellency, AMB SIMON PIERRE ADOVELANDE
Ambassador Simon Pierre Adovelande is a Benin Republic seasoned diplomat with a highly rich long-standing experience that has spanned decades. As the Current Ambassador of Benin Republic to China, he examined the status and roles of the Benin Republic in Africa and global Affairs, in a detailed chat with BRIDGEAFRIQUE Magazine crew of Kolawole O. Michael, Nina Solange Gnounfougou, Seye Abimbola and Jacobus Weiber Neizer in his office at Embassy of Benin Republic in Beijing, China.
BAM: Your Excellency sir, can you introduce yourself for the sake of our global audience: your educational background, work experience, family life, hobbies, and interests?
Ambassador: My name is Simon Pierre ADOVELANDE. I was born on June 12, 1959 at Porto Novo in the Republic of Benin. After my graduate studies in Economic and Management Techniques (ESTEG) at the University of Benin in Lomé (TOGO), I took several vocational training courses two of which were “Driving Government Performance,” at JFK School of Government, Harvard University and the Dale Carnegie Training on Leadership. These academic backgrounds spurred my interest in the development of Africa through the formulation and establishment of a possible collaboration with the United States of America. In my 30 years of professional life, I pursued Projects/Programs of international institutions based in Benin, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), where I served as administrator manager of the technical support program for the national private sector stimulus program. I invested my time in the development of economic relations between the USA and Benin, served as President, the Alabama-Benin Economic and Business Forum; the Director of the International Gospels and Roots Festival; the Director-General, the Beninese Agency for Reconciliation and Development; and currently ambassador of the Republic of Benin in the People’s Republic of China. I am happily married and the father of five children.
BAM: Please do share your current assessment of the Benin Republic and Nigeria bilateral relationship especially in the light of the challenges of the border closures due to rice smuggling?
Ambassador: Benin Republic and Nigeria have always had very good fraternal relations with each other as we belong to the same cultural, ethical, and political spaces. Closing borders are just a combination of circumstances that happen. Every effort is being made to return to normal under the ECOWAS Agreements.
BAM: What do you think of the persistent terrorist attacks, especially Boko Haram attacks on Nigerian soil, and what is Benin Republic doing to protect her borders?
Ambassador: Benin strongly condemns those attacks and stands firmly with Nigeria and with Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and other countries that suffer this kind of violent terrorism. In fact, I must point out that Benin is also a victim of the same attacks. We are working with all the countries involved to effectively and concertedly fight against this scourge that threatens the sub-region.
BAM: Benin Republic and Nigeria recently signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which aims to increase intra-Africa trade flows between the fifty-five countries. President Muhammadu Buhari signed the free trade agreement at the Summit of the African Union in Niger on Sunday, July 7, 2019. What impact do you see this have on trade relations between Benin Republic and Nigeria?
Ambassador: The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a step forward in terms of trade flows between the two countries. It should be able to positively impact trade relations between Benin and Nigeria. It will further strengthen the ECOWAS Agreement, which establishes the free movement of goods and people and better, the free or settlement rights of African nationals in the ECOWAS area spaces which include Benin and Nigeria. To this end, the people of Benin and Nigeria have always enjoyed this freedom of movement, both ways, to trade and to settle. Besides, you can imagine how many Nigerians are settled and live peacefully in Benin and vice versa.
BAM: What steps is Benin Republic putting in place to make valid contributions to the curbing of Climate Change and its impact on the West Africa sub-region?
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