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Ghana, Malawi deepen ties

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Ghana and Malawi have pledged their commitment to deepen bilateral and multilateral relations that have existed between them over the years.

The two countries said that with their historical relations, it was important to further cement such bond for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Courtesy call

They expressed the commitment when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, paid a courtesy call on the President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, at the Presidency in the capital, Lilongwe. 

The call on President Chakwera was part of a two-nation bilateral visit by the Foreign Affairs Minister which will also take her to Zambia.

Ms Botchwey informed President Chakwera of her nomination by President Akufo-Addo as a candidate for the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, saying that there was a consensus that the next Secretary-General should come from Africa and that “I am prepared if members find me worthy” and called on Malawi to give her the nod when the time comes.

Areas

The Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined areas that she would pursue when she is given the nod for the Commonwealth General-Secretaryship to include climate change and climate financing, education, mobility in the labour market, and investment in the youth including education and startups.

She expressed regret that the continent’s rich youthful population was underutilised because of inadequate investment in them and gave an assurance that she would work to help educate the youth and also provide startups that would tackle the migration challenges confronting the continent. 

She said in West Africa, the stories of young people trying to get to Europe through their perilous journey through North Africa was a serious issue that must be confronted.

Help from rich countries

She reiterated the need for the richer countries of the Commonwealth to help poorer countries in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean so that “the population can live the Commonwealth and feel its importance in their life”. 

“We need the industrialised part of the Commonwealth to help the poor areas to develop,” she stressed, adding that it is this that would let people in poor Commonwealth countries to appreciate the importance and continuous existence of the Commonwealth. 

“I am offering myself and these are areas of focus,” she reiterated.

Home

President Chakwera recalled the cordial relations that had existed between the two countries since independence, saying that “in fact, Dr Banda (the first President of Malawi) lived in Ghana and we call it (Ghana) home.”

President Chakwera said Ghana and Malawi must intentionally promote the bilateral ties between them. 

“I want you to know that our bilateral ties need to be more promoted intentionally,” the Malawian President said.

He congratulated Ms Botchwey on her nomination by President Akufo-Addo and said “Malawi welcomes the candidature for the Secretary-General. I congratulated you”.

He expressed optimism that “with that confidence that brings with it your skills and expertise, you will prove to be an asset to the Commonwealth”.

The Malawian President said bilateral cooperation of the Commonwealth was something Malawi treasures.

He assured Ms Botchwey that “we will take your appointment seriously and will respond to my brother (President Akufo-Addo)”.

Our time

He regretted that the relationship that existed between the two countries suffered some jolt at a point but was upbeat that “no matter what has happened in between, this is our time, and in due course Malawi and Ghana will take their relationship a notch higher”.

He mentioned the warm reception accorded him by President Akufo-Addo and the people of Ghana when he visited Ghana recently and invited President Akufo-Addo to visit Malawi to cement the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Foreign Minister lauded Malawi for extending visa for Ghanaians and assured Malawi that “Ghana is going to reciprocate and we are working seriously on that.”

Early on, Ms Botchwey met her counterpart, Nancy Tembo, behind closed doors.

Dignitaries 

Dignitaries that were present at the meetings included Ambassador Kwabena Osei Danquah, Special Advisor; Freda Bediako-Puni, Director; Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, Media Consultant; Renny Abbey, Deputy Director,  and Ivy Suglo, Deputy Director, Commonwealth, all of the ministry, as well as officials from the Malawi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE