Disregarding poverty in commonwealth countries is a threat

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Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has said disregarding the unacceptable levels of poverty, marginalisation and desolation in some commonwealth countries could constitute threats to social cohesion, progress and peaceful co-existence.

If a country chooses to be unconcerned about the endless struggles of some members of the commonwealth nations, she said, neither of their collective interests would be served.

She said this in a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Minister, Mr Charles Owiredu, at a “Multi-Faith Service” organised in Accra to mark the 71st Commonwealth Day in Ghana.

Mrs Botchwey said while a growing number of commonwealth countries were enjoying favourable economic conditions, many others were still struggling with economic stagnation and failed sustainable development programmes.

Due to a myriad of complex issues, she said, poverty and marginalisation persisted in several commonwealth member States.

“Furthermore, we are all witnesses to the devastating effects of climate change, environmental degradation, social deprivation and terrorism which continues to pose grave threats to international peace and security,” she said.

She urged all member States to contribute to the building of a well bonded commonwealth that was mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous.

“Indeed, enhanced interaction amongst us irrespective of our individual circumstances will foster equality of opportunities and inclusiveness,” she added.

In the rapidly changing world, further compounded by a multiplicity of complex problems, the commonwealth organisation, the Minister said, was grappling with the risk of irrelevance, primarily because it seemed incapable of developing solutions to the internecine challenges impacting most of its membership.

“Given the importance of the commonwealth, we cannot permit such a development. The call for innovation and transformation is a step in the right direction that requires our unwavering support to succeed and safeguard its relevance,” she noted.

Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said it was necessary for commonwealth nations to spend quality time on the things they had in common that promoted development.

He believed the commonwealth organisation could be used as a voice of influence to fight for member countries in areas that could steer growth of its citizens.

He mentioned prosperity, rule of law, sustainability, good sanitation, and team work as those that commonwealth nations should not take for granted if they wanted to enhance growth.

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