14 African countries have honorary consuls in Hungary. Diplomacy and Trade talked to two of them, Boldizsár Péter Entz, Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Ghana to Hungary and Péter Morenth, the Honorary Consul for Lesotho to Hungary.
In the 1960s, my parents worked in Ghana as biologists at Lake Volta, the first major man-made lake. I attended the Ghana International School there,” recalls Boldizsár Péter Entz. Later, one his classmates from that school became the country’s interior minister. “He asked me to be Ghana’s consul here in Hungary. He said there wouldn’t be much to do but I believe if you undertake something you must do it properly. I did not only want a title but some content behind it, as well,” he says. Representing Ghanaians in Hungary did not seem a strange idea as he already knew many of them. “When I saw a black person walking on the street here in Budapest, I began a conversation as most people in Africa would do. They didn’t mind as those coming from Africa still have this indirect attitude.”
Entz has officially been the head of the Ghanaian consulate since 1997. His job does not only include dealing with Ghanaians here but “there is an increasing number of travelers to Ghana to whom I issue visas, not only Hungarians but also people from the neighboring countries. Also, more and more international organizations send their people to Ghana, which can be characterized as a country of peace and democracy with the economy functioning relatively well. Travelers include pediatricians and other medical professionals but also a lady very good at threading beads. In Ghana, beads have a great tradition. It still happens that Venetian beads, once used as currency in slave trade, are found.
Regarding educational ties, Entz notes that Ghanaians who studied in Hungary earlier are likely to send their children to conduct studies in Hungary. From Hungary, there is an increasing number of people visiting Ghana to gain experience, for instance, in the field of tropical diseases. “Since more and more Hungarians travel to tropical areas as tourists, Hungarian professionals need this sort of experience,” he points out.
Péter Morenth became the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Lesotho in December 2001. As a child, he attended the International School in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania where his parents worked. He is believed to be the first Hungarian to receive a diploma in ‘African Studies’ in Hungary. As for people from Lesotho in Hungary, Morenth knows of a single person, a student at the Central European University in Budapest, but even he leaves for home this summer.
Lesotho, situated between South Africa and Mozambique, is a small country, about a third of Hungary’s size, with a population of 1.9 million. It has clean rivers, potable water, sizeable diamond reserves and stable government as a constitutional monarchy.