In a significant diplomatic move, Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Andall’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China has paved the way for potential partnerships spanning diverse sectors crucial for Grenada’s growth.
One focal point of discussions was the Port of Qingdao, home to Asia’s first automated container terminal. The Foreign Minister explored possibilities for the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) to benefit from Qingdao’s expertise, emphasising an agreement to exchange technical missions to enhance efficiency.
“We have agreed to exchange technical missions so that people affiliated with the Grenada Ports Authority can have the opportunity to witness the operations there, and to see in what ways we can benefit…,” Minister Andall told reporters during a press conference in St. George’s on Wednesday.
His announcement comes on the heels of his visit to China in late August into early September. The minister’s engagements extended to the Luhaifeng Food Group Co. Ltd., a powerhouse specialising in pelagic fishing, refrigerated shipping, port logistics, seafood processing, international trade, supply chain finance, and more.
“They too are quite eager to enter into partnership with Grenada whether it be directly with the private sector, the public sector or a combination thereof,” he declared. Minister Andall also held what he said were “fruitful discussions” at the Ocean University of China (OUC), a key institution with strengths in oceanography and fisheries.
He told reporters that the prospect of establishing a marine research center in collaboration with St. George’s University and or the University of the West Indies (UWI) was also explored. “They are also keen to work with us to develop our approach towards marine resource protection, development, and utilisation,” he added.
The senior government minister also engaged in a meeting with China’s National Agency for International Development and Cooperation which expressed interest in assisting Grenada to improve its healthcare services.
This could signal significant advancements in the healthcare sector for the island nation. Agriculture and skills training were not overlooked, as Minister Andall highlighted discussions surrounding these vital sectors.
Plans for infrastructural development under China’s Belt and Road initiative were also on the agenda, with a commitment from the Chinese officials to assist Grenada in these endeavours. The Foreign Affairs Minister also held discussions with China’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wang Yi, spanning a wide range of developmental and political issues.
Minister Andall is optimistic that his visit has opened doors for Grenada to tap into China’s expertise and resources across a spectrum of fields, potentially ushering in a new era of comprehensive development in the country.