Foreign Minister calls for closer ECOWAS collaboration

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration yesterday held  an interactive  sessions  with   regional deans and  chairpersons  of  the Economic Community of West African States  (ECOWAS)  ambassadors  to deepen  Ghana’s bilateral relations with  various  countries in the  region.

The interaction was also to assess their cooperation and work during the year to exchange views on possible areas of further cooperation and create conducive environment and favourable business climate among them.

In her address, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said the ministry had witnessed a more robust engagement at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

This, she said has helped the country realise the government’s vision of economic development and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

According her,  the  country’s  foreign policy objectives  emphasised  economic diplomacy  through which “ we have supported  national efforts  to diversify  and increased Ghana’s  export  base.”

She  explained that  it had also  drawn in foreign investment and promoted tourism and hospitality,  saying the  re-establishment of the  Economic, Trade and Investment  bureau at the ministry had  been instrumental in  achieving the  objective.

She  said in 2018, the  country witnessed  high level  visits  which were aimed at  deepening  Ghana’s bilateral  relations with various  countries across the  region.

Madam  Botchwey   stated that  so far only seven countries  including Ghana  had deposited  their  instruments  of ratification  of   agreement  with  regards to the African Continental Free  Trade  Area.

She said it was the hope of Ghana that the 15 more member states would ratify and deposits their instruments of ratification to enable the agreement come into force to achieve continental unity.

In 2019, she said Ghana would engage more countries in and Asia and Pacific areas to explore further areas of cooperation.

Madam Botchwey indicated that Ghana would hold political consultations with Switzerland, France, Latvia and Lithuania and open resident mission in Oslow, Norway next year.

“We are also looking to organise high level visits which are aimed at further deepening our engagements with Europe,” she added.

She said Ghana was also working to establish a resident diplomatic mission in  Mexico and also  hoping to finalise arrangements  to apply  for observer  status  of the  Pacific  Alliance  adding  that “ we believe these  initiatives will  enhance  Ghana’s presence  and visibility on the continent.”

The  Dean of  Diplomatic  Corps  Bernard  Ehui-Koutoua  thanked the ministry for initiating the interaction  session  and hoped for a  fruitful deliberation.

 BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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