Bamako, Mali

Inauguration of the new OIE Representation for Africa (Bamako)


For several months building-site meetings had succeeded one another with increasing pace to ensure that the building allocated to the OIE by the Government of Mali to host the Regional Representation for the African continent, would be finished well before April 14, 2011, the date both the high-level Mali authorities and the OIE Director-General, had agreed for its inauguration.

Thanks to the diligence of all those involved, everything was ready by April 14, 2011. From 4 pm onwards, a very strong delegation of the federation of the livestock farmers of Mali took their seat next to the officials’ stage, the chairpersons of the veterinary countries of forty African, European and North American countries also took up their seats under the watchful eye of the Protocol Department.

Traditional “griot” playing the flute. Picture (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2011

The highest ranking authorities of the State were directed towards the Presidential Awning and seated amongst the OIE Director General and the OIE Regional Representative for Africa. Ministers, the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives and dignitaries mingled with members of the diplomatic corps amongst which H.E. the Ambassador of Palestine, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, H.E. the Ambassador of Senegal, H.E the Ambassador of France, and H.E. the Ambassador/Head of Delegation of the European Union.

The President of the Republic of Mali arrived at 5 pm and was welcomed by a large and enthusiastic crowd, the Mali National Instrumental Ensemble, as well as traditional peuhl and bambara folk groups.

After the welcoming address by the Hon. Ms. Mayor of Bamako’s municipality n° 1, the OIE Regional Representative for Africa highlighted the strong team effort deployed by the Regional and Sub-Regional Representations to improve the governance of veterinary services, the OIE Director-General cordially thanked Mali, its President and Government for the significant efforts granted to the benefit of the OIE and the African farmers. The Hon. Minister for Livestock and Fisheries concluded the series of short speech and invited the President and the OIE Director-General to cut the ribbon, symbolically barring the entry to the court, and then bid them to uncover the commemorative embossed engraving at the entry of the building. Thereafter a guided tour of the buildings was conducted, with the Regional Representative as the proud guide. After having signed the visitor’s book, the President gave a press conference on the steps of the new head office of the OIE Regional Representation for Africa. An informal cocktail allowed the President and the members of his Government to gain more insight into the OIE and its staff. The departure of the President concluded the official ceremony. To his surprise, the OIE Director General was then offered a splendid, perfectly fattened bull on behalf of the federation of livestock farmers. This splendid bull was later offered by the OIE Director General to the staff of the OIE Regional Representation for Africa.

The two-storey building includes 8 offices, a filing room, a small cafeteria, two beautiful board rooms and a splendid roof terrace. The sanitary units on each floor supplement this perfectly functional building, which is completely autonomous from the Regional Animal Health Centre, from which it is separated by two pedestrian doors. Mali invested CFA 140 million, or approximately EUR 213.450, in this real estate project and granted it with the extraterritoriality which is allocated to diplomatic missions and international organisations.

All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2011

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