The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has organised an orientation programme for ambassadors and high commissioners-designate.

The orientation programme has been carefully designed to hone the ambassadors and high commissioners-designate’s skills for the enormous task ahead of them as they embark on the privileged journey as envoys of Ghana abroad.

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in her remarks congratulated them on their appointments.

“It is testament to the exemplary service and good conduct in your respective fields whether in the public or private sector,” she said.

She commended her two former Deputy Ministers, Mr Charles Owiredu and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani for returning to the Foreign Service as Ambassadors.

“They were my backbone during my first tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and it was, a great honour and pleasure serving with them,” she said.

The Minister said as an active member of the comity of nations, Ghana’s international relations were conducted within the frameworks of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and the Charters of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the Ministry derived its four strategic objectives from the National Medium Term Development Policy Framework (NMTDPF) 2018-2021, under the President’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), and informed by other policy guidelines, including the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda.

The four strategic objectives are to Promote a Globally Competitive Foreign Service; Enhance Ghana’s International Image and Influence; Promote Ghana’s Interests Abroad; and Integrate Ghanaian Diaspora in National Development.

She said the underlying goal was to have a transformed, effective and globally competitive state agency committed to promoting vibrant and dynamic partnerships with friendly countries and multilateral partners, and efficiently accelerating economic integration with regional and/or sub-regional organisations.

She said that should place Ghana on the path to sustained economic growth, poverty reduction, and wealth creation for Ghanaian citizens at home and abroad.

“As representatives of the President abroad, you will be entrusted with the enormous task of providing strategic leadership for the efficient and effective achievement of these strategic objectives,” she said.

“The realities of the times we live in require that we pursue Economic Diplomacy as a viable tool for transforming the Ghanaian economy by actively seeking markets for Ghanaian goods and services abroad, promoting trade and commercial relations, and investments into the country.”

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said in the COVID era, missions would be required to innovate in pursuit of economic diplomacy; adding that embarking on extensive market research on products and services was very crucial.

She said missions needed to develop marketing plans indicating the focal areas, the objectives, the strategies employed and the outcome of their activities.

“Missions must adopt innovative and cost-effective strategies such as communication with wholesalers, press releases, publishing articles in business papers, granting interviews to reputable media houses … all in a bid to promote Ghanaian goods and services,” she stated.

The Minister said as host of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Ghana had become the hub for intra-Africa trade; saying, “It is, thus, expected that there will be an influx of varied competition that may threaten small and medium enterprises”.

“Nevertheless, we should be motivated by this opportunity to boost trade and encourage the export of finished products using our comparative advantage.

“You are, therefore, being sent out as Ghana’s foremost official economic agents, entrusted with the task of ensuring that we reap the most out of the world’s largest free trade area.”

She said the Government was committed to a people-centred foreign policy, and in that regard, the Ministry had made efforts to improve its consular services such as passport administration in its missions.

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