Ayorkor Botchwey seeks Zambia’s support for Commonwealth Sec Gen position

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As part of efforts to enhance the existing cordial bilateral relations with Zambia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, together with a delegation paid a courtesy call on Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia on Tuesday, 13th February, 2024.

During the visit, she delivered a Special Message to President Hakainde Hichilema from the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Ms Ayorkor Botchwey also seized the opportunity to officially seek Zambia’s support for her candidature to the post of the next Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, at elections to be held during the 27th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa in October 2024.

The Minister highlighted the consensus among Member States which had confirmed that it was Africa’s turn to nominate a candidate, a matter deliberated upon during the 26th CHOGM in Kigali, Rwanda.

Ms Botchwey took the opportunity to share her vision for the Commonwealth with her host which included, Trade and Investment, Youth, Education, Skills, Innovation and Startups, Mobility and Labour Markets, Climate Change, Small States/Small Island States, and Managing Resources for an Effective Commonwealth Institution.

President Hakainde Hichilema welcomed the opportunity offered by the bilateral visit aimed at strengthening relations between Ghana and Zambia, undergirded by the shared ideals of advancing Africa’s unity and development.

He fondly recalled his visit to Ghana in 2023, which demonstrated the ongoing deepening of relations between Ghana and Zambia. President Hakainde Hichilema reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to implementing the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed to achieve tangible benefits for the peoples of both countries.

President Hakainde Hichilema mentioned that he was pleased to learn of the nomination of Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey as Ghana’s candidate for the post of Secretary-General of Commonwealth. He added that her candidacy would be given the necessary consideration and commended the unity displayed by the African bloc of the Commonwealth in Kigali during the 26th CHOGM which had given Ms Botchwey the opportunity to aspire to lead the organisation.

He further indicated that it was time for African leadership to spearhead significant discussions on the multilateral stage. President Hichilema also concurred with the vision of Ms Botchwey to reorient the Commonwealth to work for all member states, especially in the sphere of Trade and Investment, as well as in nurturing the talents of young people of the Commonwealth.

He believed firmly that fostering a robust economy through trade and investment holds limitless potential for sustainable growth.

The visit culminated in the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in the areas of Defence Cooperation, Political Consultation, as well as the agreed Minutes of the Inaugural Session of the Permanent Joint Commission on Cooperation (PJCC) between Ghana and Zambia which was held in April 2023.

The Minister for Foreign affairs signed for Ghana while the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mulambo Haimbe signed for Zambia. This brought the number of MoUs signed between Ghana and Zambia from July 2023 to date to 13.

The Foreign Minister of Ghana commended officials of both countries for their dedication in finalising the MOUs and emphasised the significance of their implementation.

She also added that there were ongoing discussions regarding a visa exemption agreement between Ghana and Zambia as well as MoUs in other sectors.

 

Source: Classfmonline.com/Emmanuel Mensah

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