The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, says Ghana is undergoing an assessment to benefit from the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operation.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Meet- the- Press Series in Accra, Madam Botchwey said the Fund was meant to allow troop contributing countries to access flexible funding to support the deployment of trained and qualified women to United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping operations, with a focus on increasing the representation of women in positions of authority.
She said it was in recognition of Ghana’s leading role in UN peacekeeping operations that the country was selected as a member of the contact group of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations launched by Canada in 2017.
She said the initiative was an innovative multilateral project to help overcome barriers to women’s participation in peacekeeping operations.
She said Canada had since established bilateral technical assistance and training partnerships with the Ghana Armed Forces and the Canadian Police Force.
“In May 2019, the Government of Ghana hosted the President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Madam María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés as part of a three-nation tour to bring the UN closer to the people and to strengthen multilateralism,” Madam Botchwey said.
“She called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who took the opportunity to affirm Ghana’s commitment to the principles of multilateralism and highlighted Ghana’s active participation in the UN peacekeeping operations since the 1960s as an indication of the value the country attached to its membership of the Organisation.”
With regards to economic diplomacy, Madam Botchwey said foreign policy, like domestic policy, seeks to advance national goals and every Ghanaian would agree with me that improvement in the economy was of vital national interest.
She said economic diplomacy supports the national objective of diversifying and increasing Ghana’s export base by actively seeking markets for Ghanaian products abroad and taking advantage of preferential arrangements and multilateral trade agreements.
She said economic diplomacy also supported the diversification and expansion of the tourism industry for job creation and revenue generation by marketing Ghana abroad as a competitive tourist destination and attracting investment into the hospitability industry.
She said the Government under President Akufo-Addo prioritises the development of economic opportunities in Ghana’s foreign policy by opening up markets for Ghanaian exports and attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country.
She said economic diplomacy had thus become a central focus in the implementation of Ghana’s foreign policy to take advantage of the country’s huge economic and trade potentials.
She said to give meaning to this policy direction, the Ministry re-established the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau (ECTIB) in June 2017 to bring focus to the Ministry’s economic activities and its collaboration with other institutions.
She said since its re-establishment, the bureau had coordinated Ghana’s economic, trade, tourism and investment activities with Ghana’s Missions abroad and various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); adding that “we practice economic diplomacy at home too”.
She recalled that in 2018, the Ministry organised its maiden Bazaar Extravaganza of “Made-in-Ghana” goods and services.
She said the Exhibition brought together over 50 indigenous entrepreneurs to display their wares and products.
Madam Botchwey said the Diplomatic Corps, as well as the public were invited to the two-day event at the premises of the Ministry.
She said the successful maiden Bazaar encouraged the Ministry to organize the just ended second Made-in-Ghana Bazaar which was highly patronized by the public.
She said in the area of tourism, the Ministry continued to intensify promotion of the tourism industry, in collaboration with its Missions abroad to present Ghana as the best destination of choice for tourists.