Lord Tariq Ahmad, the British Foreign Office Minister of State for Commonwealth and the United Nations, has urged member states of the Commonwealth to uphold probity and accountability to help strengthen democratic governance.
He said good principles of democracy ensures that there was an increasing levels of accountability and transparency; and as such, if these principles were adhere to, there would be sustainable democracies across Africa as well as a better future to build upon.
The Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth), also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states including Ghana that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
Lord Ahmad made this call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra during a forum organised by TEDx and hosted by the British High Commission.
The forum dubbed “Africa’s Young Commonwealth” aimed at discussing the relevance of the Commonwealth, its opportunities and the role of the youth in ensuring that the objectives of the Commonwealth are achieved.
Lord Ahmad, who was on a three-day visit to Ghana, noted that every member state of the Commonwealth subscribed to the importance of good governance; however, any member that does not subscribe, ‘feels is best served in serving itself’.
He said there were more opportunities Commonwealth member states could leverage on, if they worked collectively and strengthen their relations.
He again noted that Commonwealth had recognized Ghana’s sustainable democracy; as the nation could boast of seven credible democratic elections, three changes of governments, coupled with the respect of the democratic mandate being given each party.
“For democracy to be sustainable you must start on a foundation of respecting results and we have seen that in Ghana,” he added. Lord Ahmad urged all governments to subscribe to these values, as there was always room for improvement.
He told GNA that there was also a need for nations to be focus, build transparency in decision making and in terms of how procurement works in the supply chain; stating that “these are all opportunities to build for the future”.
Mr Elijah Amoo Addo, a Ghanaian Chef and Founder of the Food for All Africa Programme, also told GNA that through Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain decided to reward amazing youth across member states.
He said fortunately due to the concept of their programmes and models they run; as it could be easily replicated across member countries, it gave him the opportunity to receive the Queen’s Young Leader’s Award.
Mr Addo said the programme which was built on advocacy against food wastage, was a national food recovery project to build West Africa’s first food bank in Ghana.
He said this would create efficiency and sustainable means of nutrition for vulnerable children, the aged and the mentally challenged.
He said currently the team provides food on a regular basis to 5,842 beneficiaries across Ghana, covering $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 worth of food products along the supply chain which could have gone wasted. He therefore, called on Ghanaians to support the National Food Donor bill, which according to him would help regulate food donation and ensure that a lot more was recovered to support the vulnerable in society.
“With this initiative, our National School Feeding Programme will also be easily implemented,” he added. Mr Addo said the bill when passed into law would ban supermarkets and hospitality companies from destroying their unsold foods, and donated it to charities or farms instead; this is coming as a result of the increasing amount of food that has been wasted along Ghana’s food supply system.
He said as a Chef, he witnessed a mentally challenged man collecting food scraps in Accra, and feeding the other mentally challenged individuals on the streets, and this motivated him to embark on such a laudable initiative.