President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) Ghana to advance the country’s foreign policy and relations within the global comity of nations.
The establishment of the council makes Ghana one of the few countries in the world with such a think tank to advance its foreign policy interests.
President Akufo-Addo, in an address at the launch, said the Council on Foreign Relations would act as facilitators in improving the country’s foreign policy formulation and execution, and as key agents of social change.
“If effectively positioned and focused, the think tanks can strike a formidable partnership with state and non-state actors alike, to set and deepen the agenda of public discourse, and shape national, regional, continental and global conversations,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo urged the CFR Ghana to assist the country to “keep its eyes on the ball in a manner that allows us to deal with critical challenges at home, on the continent and amongst multilateral institutions.”
The President urged the Executive Council of CFR Ghana to create an unrivalled, intellectual and a practical think tank whose programmes, projects and studies would permit the country address its challenges effectively.
“I trust that, driven by the twin principles of excellence and solidarity, CFR Ghana will seek to become, in the shortest possible time, one of the leading go-to think tanks not only in Ghana, but also in the region, the continent and in the world. CFR Ghana should contribute its quota into shaping the Ghana we want, so she can continue to be effective and relevant on the international stage,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s foreign policy was derived from its entrenched values of democracy, respect for individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.
“Our over-arching national goal is to develop rapidly, within a democratic framework, a modern, industrialised economy, which engages with the world on the basis of things we make, and not on the export of raw materials, and which creates a society of opportunities for our young people, enabling them to live productively in dignity,” he said
“It is in our collective interest that we do everything we can to preserve this hard-won reputation, and attract the investments that will facilitate the structural transformation of our economy, so central to the future prosperity and stability of our country.”
“Our foreign policy is an extension of our aims, achieved through the vehicle of good neighbourliness, which seeks friendship with all nations who seek our friendship and partnership in furtherance of these aims,” President Akufo-Addo explained.
President Akufo-Addo said global challenges such as recession in the spirit of multilateralism, globalisation, and an upsurge in the digital revolution, presented opportunities and risks which had the potential to revolutionise foreign policy and international relations.
“In light of these, we need a strong, reputable policy think tank to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed to enable them contribute meaningfully to the defence and promotion of the national interest.”
“As the saying goes, foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy or, as one American author succinctly put it, ‘foreign policy begins at home’,” he said.
BY YAW KYEI