Madam Baroness Valerie Ann Amos, the Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London has urged Ghana to show strong leadership in Africa.
“This continent needs an engaged and a strong Ghana. My message to you, go for it,” Madam Baroness Amos stated in a speech at the maiden lecture series of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – Ghana in Accra.
The CFR – Ghana, which is a think tank on the country’s foreign policy and international relations, is modelled on well-established think tanks such as the Council of Foreign Relations in the United States and the Chatham House in the United Kingdom.
Madam Baroness Amos said one thing, she was confident about was that the Africa region had opportunity to learn lessons from what was happening elsewhere; and noted that Africa could to go beyond its own challenges to shape bold innovative models, partnership and cooperation for the future.
“You can learn from our mistakes. Remember to put the people first. Tackling domestic challenges is key, that gives you a consensus lead to continue to play a significant role in global affairs – bilaterally and multilaterally.”
Speaking on the topic “Does the retreat from multilateralism create new opportunities for the African continent?” Madam Amos said a major power interest might not be the global interest.
She said China through its support programmes for the socioeconomic development of other countries had positioned itself as a global power.
Madam Baroness Amos, who is also a British diplomat and politician, touched on the United States’ President Donald Trump’s trade protectionism policy and his recognition of the Golant Height as part of Israel and its implementation for the rest of the world.
She said the French President Emmanuel Macron had pledged to invest 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) in Africa by financing and supporting start-ups and small- to medium-sized enterprises by 2022.
She noted that the African Union had set up an aspiration in its 2063 Agenda.
These include a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; an integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.
An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law and an Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner
On the implications for Africa should Britain withdraw from the European Union (EU), Madam Baroness Amos said Brexit would of course have some impact on development on the African continent; adding that “but I don’t think it is as much as people feel”.
“Britain’s investment in defence and foreign policy priorities has declined over many years and there has been recent attempts to address that,” she stated.
“And yet its commitment to development remains strong, as a result of a legislative underpinning to the commitment of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product to be spent of development aide. But there are constant calls within government and outside government to change that.”
Madam Baroness Amos said Ghana had strong bilateral relations with Britain, which would continue.
She said the trade relationships between Ghana and Britain would remain and continue to grow stronger.
“China is now Ghana’s top trading partner with bilateral trading rising from less than $100 million in 2000 to $ 6.7 billion in 2017, Britain cannot compete with that,” she said.
“As Britain turns inwards, the global influence we used to enjoy, and which has tiers with our Commonwealth partners will continue to wane,” Madam Baroness Amos said.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the CFR – Ghana would make their work a lot easier by giving them the knowledge that they required.
She said there was the need to take a good look at what Ghana’s foreign policy was and what direction to take.
She said Ghana needs a foreign policy that trickles down in terms of being understood by the ordinary man on the street.
Mr Daniel K. Osei, President of the CFR, Ghana said the objective of the Council was to attempt to build a bridge between foreign policy and domestic policy.
The function was chaired by Mrs Agnes Aggry-Orleans, a former diplomat.