South Africa is planning to name an honorary consul to represent the country in Georgia, Ebrahim Rasool, South Africa’s ambassador to the United States, told Global Atlanta Jan. 7.
Mr. Rasool, a frequent visitor to Atlanta as ambassadors go, said in November 2012 that South Africa runs the risk of being left behind in a state that plays host to diplomats, trade offices and chambers of commerce from more than 70 countries.
Visiting Atlanta for the opening of a permanent showroom of handmade South African products at the Americasmart downtown, he told Global Atlanta that one holdup on the consular front has been funding, which can only be allocated after South Africa’s new fiscal year starts this coming April.
South African consuls general from New York and Los Angeles attended the Atlanta showroom opening Tuesday, which Mr. Rasool called an economic “umbilical cord” linking female entrepreneurs in South Africa with the opportunities afforded in Atlanta and beyond.
By cutting out the middlemen who often exploit villagers, the government-run showroom holds the promise of social mobility for skilled artisans.
Deputy Trade Minister Elizabeth Thabethe cut a ribbon to open the showroom, which focuses on home furnishings, from woolen baskets to beaded animals and from ottomans to armoires.
After an American lunch at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, the large delegation toasted the opening with South African sparkling wine and were treated to bowls of biltong, a South African jerky.
The Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia is the presenting sponsor of Global Atlanta's Diplomacy Channel. Subscribe here for monthly Diplomacy newsletters.