GHANA’S president Nana Akufo-Addo today continues his working visit of the region in Barbados, the latest leg of a tour that has underlined the importance of maintaining diasporic and diplomatic ties with one of our oldest partners.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley took the opportunity to call on Akufo-Addo to support moves to revamp the Brussels-based African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The ACP’s agenda includes the bolstering of peace, stability, and democracy in member states; as well as economic integration and development particularly with Europe. Yet the fate of this trading block also has implications for matters close to home.
Venezuela remains an issue that requires an international diplomatic response. Its impact on the Caribbean region presents reverberations within the wider ACP. As noted by Akufo-Addo, the situation affects the Caribbean members of the ACP. Therefore, efforts must be made to ensure a positive resolution to the problem.
“It is our moral duty to do so,” said Akufo-Addo.
In addition to visiting this country and Barbados, Akufo-Addo has already met with officials in Guyana and St Vincent and the Grenadines. After leaving Barbados, he will head to Jamaica. A common trait of all, in addition to a direct interest in the fate of Venezuela, is a shared history involving colonial rule and slavery.
Ghana was the first black African nation to achieve independence from Britain. It is today an interesting reference point for former colonial states, having become one of the African continent’s fastest growing economies. The country is the world’s second largest cocoa producer, and Africa’s most important gold miner behind South Africa. Crucially, significant progress has been made in poverty reduction.
Ghana is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 1, which is the target of reducing extreme poverty by half.
While its early years saw much turbulence, over the last decade Ghana has enjoyed increasingly stable and deepening democratic governance. Five elections were held in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 and, according to the UNDP, the country has strengthened the effectiveness of key national institutions, enhanced investor confidence and anchored its economy in an environment conducive to positive growth.
There is much to gain, therefore, from diplomatic alliance with this pivotal player in regional and international affairs.
However, that alliance should be matched with efforts to also enhance commercial and cultural ties. Such will serve to deepen our links to a country which, though an ocean away, is in many respects a valuable neighbour.