National & International University

Foreign Minister proposes democracy reforms at Buckingham university

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Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, addressed the University of Buckingham on Thursday, presenting proposals to enhance socio-economic benefits for Commonwealth citizens amidst threats from disinformation, populism, and declining trust in democracy.

Botchwey is a top African diplomat and candidate for Secretary-General of the 56-member Commonwealth of Nations, she spoke on “Realizing the Democratic Dividend: A Commonwealth Imperative.”

She emphasized the need for international cooperation to achieve transformative changes in economic, environmental, and social sectors.

“In an increasingly interdependent world, collaboration among countries is essential for everyone. The climate crisis, in particular, has shown that collective action is needed, if we are to address the challenges of the global commons effectively,” she stated.

Addressing an audience of students, academics, diplomats, and civil society activists, she stressed the importance of laying a foundation for a robust and equitable global economy.

She noted that many developing countries, especially Small States and Small Island Developing States, operate on the periphery of the global economy, relying heavily on a few agricultural exports and tourism.

Botchwey highlighted the heavy debt burdens these countries face, hindering investment and economic growth. In 2023, their share of foreign direct investment dropped by 10 percent. She urged industrialized countries to provide more resources to international financial institutions to help Commonwealth and other developing nations address climate challenges effectively.

Botchwey, who recently launched her campaign for Commonwealth Secretary General, delivered a campaign message, she said: “I want to lead the Commonwealth to meet the needs of its citizens, so they can lead ambitious and fulfilling lives. As the challenges to democracy increase each year the Commonwealth must be a leader in re-engineering the democratic vision.

“I will use my well-known passion for accountable governance, and my extensive experience working with global leaders on interventions involving diplomacy, trade, youth, gender and democracy, to reposition the Commonwealth, fulfil our aspirations, and improve the lives of our people. The Commonwealth has great potential – it’s a sleeping giant waiting to be woken.”

Botchwey served 16 years as a legislator and was a member of Ghana’s National Security Council, she concluded reiterating the need for Commonwealth nations to ensure that young people participate in economic transformation, supported by relevant education and skills training.

Find out more about The Honourable Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey’s campaign here

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