Address by Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO,
on the occasion of the opening ceremony
of the Pilgrimage Route Meeting
Accra, Ghana, 16 February 2007
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,
Honourable Ministers of Ghana and the ECOWAS countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour to be among you today, together with the Deputy Prime Minister, for
the opening of the Pilgrimage Route Meeting. This meeting marks the 2007
bicentenary of the abolition of the North Atlantic slave trade by the UK Parliament.
I made my first official visit to Ghana at the invitation of President Kufuor three
years ago, in order to launch the 2004 International Year to Commemorate the
Struggle Against Slavery. On that occasion, I had the privilege of making my first
address as Nana Nyarko Abronoma the First, a name that was graciously bestowed
upon me in Cape Coast. Yesterday, I was almost made Nana of the Ga people at
the ceremony held at James Town, Accra. But they discovered at the last minute
that I am already Nana of Cape Coast. They therefore decided to withdraw their
offer, which I regret nonetheless.
More seriously though, it is with genuine pleasure that I return to your country on
this occasion, invited again by President Kufuor. I have been privileged to meet the
President on many occasions. Most recently was just two weeks ago at the African
Union Summit in Addis Ababa, when President Kufuor was elected Chairman of the
Union. I had the privilege to make a speech at the Summit, chaired by him,
addressing the theme of “Science and Technology in Africa”. The next African
Union Summit will take place in Accra in July of this year. It is indeed a great
achievement for Ghana.
DG/2007/017 – Original: English
I totally agree with the statement made by President Kufuor at the Africa-France
Summit held in Cannes, France, that “Africa is a land of beauty and hospitality”.
Vice President Mahama has been extending Ghanaian hospitality to me since