Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has said government was making efforts at all levels to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the country.

She said she had been asked to engage two countries; China and Russia, that had develop the vaccines, at the levels of their ambassadors, to find out how they could help Ghana acquire the vaccines.

“The vaccines have become such a hot commodity and even if you have money it is difficult to procure them,” she said.

Ms Botchwey said this when she appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament for vetting on her re-nomination by President Akufo-Addo as minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

She said efforts were being made collectively within ECOWAS, under the West African Health Organisation and the Africa Centre for Disease Control, to obtain the vaccines.

She explained that at the level of the ECOWAS Health Ministers, about 240 million vaccines were being procured for the region.

Ms Botchwey disclosed that of the 58 Ghanaian embassies and nine consulates across the world, most of the ambassadors and staff worked and stayed in rented houses, which had increased the cost of their operations.

She said though her ministry inherited US$50 million from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration meant for office building and accommodation for diplomats, it was not enough to solve the problem.

She pledged to find innovative means to raise money to purchase properties abroad for use by staff of embassies, adding that the Ghanaian embassies in New York and Paris, among other countries, needed to be renovated to befit Ghana’s image.

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