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International Cooperation Vital for Strengthening Economic Regional Integration

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Multilateral Relations

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, says international cooperation, bilateral and multilateral relations are key to enhance economic outcomes, inclusive and equitable development, economic regional integration and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

She said the current global situation called for cooperation and partnerships among countries to address global challenges of international peace and security, human insecurity, violent extremism, maritime piracy, climate change and other economic related matters.

The Minister said this in a speech read on her behalf by Mr Peter Kobina Taylor, the Director for Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, at the 2024 International Week (iWeek) celebration symposium held in Accra.

The symposium which was organised by the University of Ghana (UG) and its partners was on the theme, “Rethinking Internationalisation in Africa: The Equity Question.”

It provides a platform for candid engagements, discussions, sharing insights and exploring innovative strategies for promoting greater equity and inclusivity in international education initiatives.

The celebration saw in attendance representatives from over 50 Universities, spanning approximately about 30 countries.

She said the theme was entirely relevant at the time of geo-political tensions in various parts of the world and the concerted efforts by the international community to find lasting solutions to adverse political and economic conditions faced by many countries including Ghana.

The Minister said their participation in the celebration was also in line with their policy and public diplomacy, which was aimed at strategic partnership with educational institutions, think tanks, academia, civil society organisations, private sector operators among others.

She said it was in that regard that Ghana had over the years played an active role at the international level and was committed to the principles of multilateralism and shared values of democratic governance and economic development.

“It is my hope that your deliberations will further enhance our knowledge in areas of internationalisation relating to educational, technological and cultural exchanges and advance the mission of African union agenda 2023 as well as the 2030 SDGs,” she added.

Professor Gordon Awandare, the Pro Vice Chancellor for Academic and Students Affairs, UG, said internationalisation had been a key strategic objective of the UG over the last ten years, in their quest to become a globally competitive research-intensive university.

He said by their newly developed 5-year strategic plan, 2024 to 2029, the university would proactively engage external partners at the local, national and international levels.

The Pro Vice Chancellor said this would be done by intentionally integrating international, intercultural and global dimensions into the purpose, functions and delivery of all teaching and research programmes.

He said regionalisation was a key component of their internationalisation strategy, expressing delight to see partners from other African institutions, from both academic and non-academic sectors.

Professor Eric Osei-Assibey, the Dean of International Programmes, UG, said universities in the global North and South, particularly in Africa, faced different circumstances including differences in culture, resources, institutional capacities and ideologies.

He said these differences may affect how they collaborated in their internationalisation agenda, posing a challenge for equitable partnership by skewing the benefits of partnerships to one-sided in most cases.

He said they strived to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment, it was imperative to critically examine the role of internationalisation in higher education and its impact on addressing disparities in access, opportunity and representation.

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