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Ayorkor Botchwey engages Caribbean leaders for closer ties with Ghana

Local News

2 months ago
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Ghana's foreign minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has held a series of bilateral and multilateral talks with Caribbean leaders, as a special guest at the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Summit in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana where the organization is headquartered.

Ms. Botchwey held closed-door meetings with Dr Terrence Drew, Dr Dickon Mitchell, Mr Gaston Browne, and Mr Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Ministers respectively of St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica. 
Foreign Minister Dr. Amery Browne of Trinidad and Tobago stood in for Prime Minister Keith Rowley who was delayed by the Summit proceedings.

She also addressed the CARICOM Council of Ministers in camera and attended a reception where she engaged with President Alfaan Ali of Guyana, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, Prime Minister Philip Davis of Bahamas and other political, diplomatic and business leaders from the region.

Both Caribbean and Ghanaian officials said all sides were eager to build on the momentum generated from Ghana’s “Year of Return” initiative in 2019, and the subsequent “Beyond the Return” policy which have led to a significant increase in tourist arrivals from the African diaspora to Ghana.

The “Year of Return” introduced by the Ghanaian government, commemorated 400 years since the first slaves were recorded to have arrived in the Americas.

Together with its sequel, “Beyond the Return”, the policy seeks to encourage African descendants in the Americas to visit and invest in Ghana from where historical records show, many of their ancestors originated as slaves.

Ms. Botchwey said: “Those initiatives by President Akufo-Addo have ignited interest in bringing the Caribbean countries and Ghana in particular, and Africa in general, closer together.  

“They present an important opportunity to enlarge the market size of Africa and its diaspora and grow our economies, as well as bring together our people who have been separated by history and the ocean,” she said, adding that “a direct air link would boost travel and commerce significantly between us.”  

Ms. Botchwey held similar meetings with the foreign ministers of St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and the director-general of the foreign ministry of the Bahamas; namely, Mr. Alva Baptiste, Dr. Francis Fonseca, and  Ms. Jerusa Ali.

In a move to bridge the political and economic gap, the African Union has designated the Caribbean as the “sixth region” of Africa, in addition to the continent’s east, west, north, south and central geographic regions.

Ms. Botchwey, a lawyer, and former legislator in both the Ghanaian and West African (Ecowas) parliaments, is Ghana’s candidate for the position of Commonwealth Secretary-General.

The organization’s leaders will choose a new secretary-general in October to replace Baroness Patricia Scotland, a British-Dominican, whose current and second term is non-renewable when it expires at the end of this year.

The rotational leadership of the 56-member Commonwealth of 2.6 billion people, and an annual economic output of over US$13 trillion, is expected to come from Africa. 

source: Theannouncergh.com