We talk to the Ambassador of France to Ghana H.E. Francois Pujolas about working in Ghana, where to eat and his hidden gem
By Daniel Neilson|
Why were you interested in working in Ghana? What were the cultural aspects you were looking forward to?
For me, Ghana has always been a fascinating country, a reference in Africa for democracy and economic development. As a diplomat, I wanted to work in Ghana to be a part of the process of regional integration in West Africa. Culture can and must play a major role in this regard, for instance on the linguistic side to bridge gaps between French speaking and English speaking countries in this region.
Has it lived up to expectations?
The Ghanaian people are friendly and welcoming; working in Ghana is therefore very interesting and rewarding in terms of interactions and positive thinking. Furthermore the Ghanaian society and economy are open, vibrant and dynamic, and offer many opportunities for partnerships and cooperation. Working and living here is simply great!
Where do you take people out to eat?
Accra is an international city. This reflects in its gastronomic offer: of course it won’t come as a surprise that I like and support the French restaurants in Ghana such as Le Tandem or La Chaumière, and also all those which took part in the ‘Goût/Good France’ event last March. I must admit, I also like to invite my guests to various places and enjoy other cuisines as well: Indian, Japanese, Italian and Ghanaian of course. Some of my favorite restaurants: Urban grill, Santoku, Mamma Mia and the restaurant at the Lou Moon Lodge, Takoradi. We also like homemade Ghanaian food like goat light soup and fufu. Finally, my wife and I are happy to serve French delicacies to our guests at the Residence of France!
Where do you put up friends?
Accra offers accommodation suited for all budgets. We recommend Kempinski, Movenpick, and Labadie. But usually we go on the time out site for different suggestions. For shopping, we take our guests to Wild Gecko and Artists Alliance Gallery.
When you want to escape the city, where do you go?
We were invited several times by friends to relax and enjoy the beach side south of Accra, quiet and peaceful. And also we visited few places where I would definitely like to go back again: Aburi (Pedusase Hill resort), Akosombo (Royal Senchi), Cape Coast-Elmina (Coconut Grove Resort) and further west, along the coast near Axim. And of course the northern part of Ghana is still waiting for us such as Mole Park (Zaina Lodge) and other beautiful and interesting places over there.
How can France work with Ghana? What interesting cultural projects are there?
France works with Ghana at different levels. We see it a priority to invest in the future, sustainable development and smart cities in Ghana, for instance. We will also help develop learning of French, by training the Ghanaian teachers of French. Knowledge of French can certainly boost job and career opportunities for Ghanaian young people. Moreover we would like to increase the bilateral cooperation in academic field and research; we will organize next year in Ghana the first ever ‘Study in France’ fair. In this context, cultural initiatives will contribute to project a more dynamic image of France in Ghana, thanks notably to our flagship institution L’Alliance Française. Talented Ghanaian artists have already performed there, Rocky Dawuni, King Ayisoba, Adomaa and Wiyaala, to name but a few. We intend to extend to other forms of music, visual arts and cinema, and develop even more the attractiveness of French culture in Ghana.
What's the best hidden gem you've found?
I do not want to boast but…our residence. Another place that I like is Sky bar 25 for a nice ambiance and an amazing view of Accra. Last but not the least, the home terrace restaurant of PaJohns.