President, Asantehene’s attendance at King Charles III’s Coronation highlight Ghana-UK relations

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, were among high-profile African personalities present at the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, on Saturday, May 06, 2023.

The presence of the two personalities enhanced further the long-standing relations between Ghana and Britain, consolidating the cordial relationship between the two countries.

King Charles’ coronation also marked a new dawn in the relationship between Britain and its former colony, particularly within the context of the Commonwealth agenda.

“My beautiful Rebecca and I, together with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and his wife, Lady Julia, attended this morning’s coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey, in London.” President Nana Akufo-Addo wrote on his Facebook page.

Ghana was the first black African country south of the Sahara to gain political independence from British colonial rule in 1957, and this would inspire other countries on the continent to follow suit.

Since then, the two countries have maintained a strong partnership, especially in the area of political diplomacy, peace and security, education, health, trade and investment, cultural exchanges, among others.

King Charles, until his coronation, had paid a couple of visits to Ghana, the last in 2018, which saw the then Prince Charles inaugurating the Prince of Wales Park at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi.

The beautifully decorated Park is one of the five-decade-long campaign projects by the King as he champions the cause for a greener world.

It is meant to advance the shared ambition for the Commonwealth and maintain closer ties.
Environmentalism was the cornerstone of Charles’ public identity as Prince of Wales.

Starting in the 1970s, he has given speeches highlighting air pollution, plastic waste, oil spills, and industrial agriculture, and convened meetings with world leaders to discuss those threats.

The King once said: “Forests are the world’s air-conditioning system – the lungs of the planet – and we are on the verge of switching it off.”

In 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) and Ghana signed an agreement, marking an important moment for boosting trade worth £1.2 billion.

The expectation is that with tariff-free access for Ghana to the UK, it will enable businesses to scale up their operations, support innovation in markets and create jobs.

It means Ghanaian products such as bananas, canned tuna and cocoa can be traded to Britain without tariffs.
The West African country’s largest exports to the UK include cocoa, fish, fruits, mineral fuels and oil, while its top imports include clothing/textiles, machinery and mechanical appliances, and chemical products from the UK.

It is worth noting that, over the years, there have been some significant visits to Ghana by some members of the British Monarch, including the famous trip by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1961.

A BBC News World Service documentary on the visit, dubbed: ‘Queen Elizabeth II: A royal diplomat on Ghana’s stage,’ depicted the Queen’s role as constitutional monarch, and how her position as head of the Commonwealth placed her at the heart of global issues.

With the mantle now falling on King Charles, Ghana and the rest of Africa will be looking forward to leverage on the existing partnership to overcome development challenges.

In a report published in July 2020, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee argued that the UK should seek a stronger partnership with sub-Saharan Africa.

It made several recommendations, including that the UK should set out a list of clear priorities for engagement with the region.

The report covered several areas, such as the UK’s Africa strategy, including the coordination of Government departments, communication of the UK’s approach and the Integrated Review, Africa’s regional organisations, such as the African Union and the Commonwealth, as well as sub-Saharan Africa’s economic development, including employment and business opportunities.
It highlighted the UK’s economic relationship with sub-Saharan Africa, including its use of official development assistance (ODA), its trade with and investment in the region and the diaspora.

Other areas are peace and security in sub-Saharan Africa, such as challenges the region faces and its impact on women, human rights, democracy and governance.

King Charles III became king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on September 8, 2022, on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

He is the eldest child of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
While his mother was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Charles holds the record for being Britain’s longest-serving monarch-in-waiting.

He was 73 when he ascended the throne.
A profile on the King by Buckingham Palace says, after private schooling at Buckingham Palace and in London, Hampshire, and Scotland, Charles entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1967.

He took a bachelor’s degree there in 1971, the first ever earned by an heir to the British crown.
He also spent a term at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, learning Welsh in preparation for his investiture as the Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969, at Caernarvon Castle.

He then attended the Royal Air Force College (becoming an excellent flier) and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
Charles delivered his inaugural address on September 9, 2022. In the televised speech he paid tribute to his mother’s life and pledged “throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the Constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”

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