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Ghana, Cyprus to establish framework for political consultation

June 28, 2024
Ghana, Cyprus to establish framework for political consultation
Ms. Shirley A. Botchwey and Dr. Constantinos Kombos

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and Foreign Minister Dr. Constantinos Kombos have hosted meetings with Ghanaian Foreign Minister, Ms. Shirley A. Botchwey, in the capital, Nicosia, and agreed to establish a framework for political consultations.

The framework would facilitate cooperation in a raft of fields including trade, maritime security, education, fisheries, tourism, and smoother visa protocols.

At a meeting at the Cypriot foreign ministry headquarters, Ms. Botchwey informed Dr. Combos and his team of opportunities offered by the burgeoning Africa Continental Free Trade Area (), headquartered in Ghana.

“We must explore trade opportunities between our two countries. I would recommend a visit by a Cypriot business mission to come to Ghana and explore mutually beneficial opportunities under AfCFTA,” she said.

They also discussed multilateral issues, involving the , and the future of the , the 56-member organization which Ms. Botchwey has offered to lead when Heads of Government meet to elect a new Secretary-General in October in the Pacific Island of Samoa. Her candidacy has received strong bipartisan support in Ghana.

Dr Kombos commended Ghana for its stand on issues of international law during its two-year tenure on the UN Security Council, which ended in 2023.

“The Commonwealth is a powerful organization, but it needs a different outlook and a new approach to make it even more impactful,” he said of the organization whose members generate over $13 trillion in GDP annually.

Ms Botchwey agreed, saying: “We must make sure that the wealth of the Commonwealth becomes common for all its members.”

She said the Commonwealth must be felt beyond election monitoring and the Commonwealth Games. “The Commonwealth must support young people; we must train them in skills and provide them with financial support for innovation and start-ups” to the tide of illegal migration.

Ms. Botchwey, a member of Ghana's national security council, and one of Africa's leading diplomats, has made the future of young people in the Commonwealth one of the pillars of her candidacy. Over 60 percent of the Commonwealth's 2.6 billion people are under thirty years old.

Although most Commonwealth countries were former British colonies, others such as , , and now-suspended without pre-independence ties with Britain, had joined, which, Ms. Botchwey said, demonstrated its importance.

In an earlier meeting, President Christodoulides said Cyprus shared Ms. Botchwey's vision for the Commonwealth. Her vision includes more trade and investment within the organization, and the urgent need for international to tackle the devastating economic impact of Climate Change on vulnerable Small Island Developing States and Small States, most of them in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Trade between Ghana and Cyprus is currently limited, standing at $1.8 million as of 2022. A.G. Leventis Foundation, an offshoot of a former corporate organization in Ghana, provides funding for wildlife conservation through the Ghana Wildlife Society. It also supports youth in agriculture, through the and related research centres.

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