Commonwealth
Commonwealth

Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said Commonwealth member states must tackle challenges through their shared history and common purpose.

He noted that these shared values were powerful voices for change and, therefore, exist to create a stronger action to protect the people on global challenges and create trade links between them.

Mr Walker said at a Cocktail Reception in Accra, hosted by the British High Commission, as part of activities to mark the 2019 Commonwealth Day.

The Commonwealth, formerly known as the Commonwealth of Nations, is a unique political association of 53 states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire.

The Commonwealth Day, replacing the former Empire Day, is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, often held on the second Monday of March, where people in member countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Americas, the Pacific and Europe observe it.

It was on the theme: “A Connected Commonwealth” and also marks the 70th Anniversary of the London Declaration, when Commonwealth nations agreed to move forward together as equal and free members.

Mr Walker said last year, the Queen welcomed the leaders of all 53 nations, among them was President Akufo-Addo, to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

He pointed out that the President’s heart-felt toast to the Queen at Buckingham Palace, on behalf of all Commonwealth member states, exemplified the warmth of the bilateral relationship and shared ambition for the Commonwealth.

The British High Commissioner said the Commonwealth Summit outcomes focused on international effort on priority themes: Prosperity, Security, Fairness and Sustainability.

“These priorities are Ghana and the United Kingdom’s priorities, and we are working side-by-side in Ghana to achieve the commitments made at the Summit,” he added.

Mr Walker noted that the Summit announced over 500 million pounds of funding for Commonwealth programmes, that would catalyse action on creating employment; improving access to education; strengthening cyber security; and protecting the oceans from plastic pollution.

He stated that those works were supported by the many Commonwealth Associations such as the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, who were playing active roles in bringing the Commonwealth closer to every Ghanaian.

Mr Walker said Ghana had always been a leader in the Commonwealth and on the Continent and a key partner for the United Kingdom in her year as the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office.

He expressed the hope that this year would build on enduring commitments and pave the way for even greater success at the next Commonwealth Summit in Rwanda in 2020.

Mr John Apea, the Africa Head of RCS, said this year was a special year for the Commonwealth for two reasons; first, it was approximately 70 years to the month when the London Declaration was signed and, second, the Day was the closest to the RCS 150th birthday.

The RCS, together with the Commonwealth Secretariat, had been behind many bold moves that were now seen in the Commonwealth.

Mr Apea said under the connectivity agenda for Trade and Investment, there was also increased cooperation on trade and investment towards inclusive economic empowerment.

This would enable all the people, particularly women, youth and marginalised communities to share the fruits of progress and prosperity.

“If you look at the statistics alone: the economic, political and social power, the network, the potential and sheer breadth and diversity that the Commonwealth represents is extraordinary,” he said.

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