Ghana’s role in addressing division and instability in West Africa is remarkable and must be commended, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said.
According to her, despite the recent military takeovers that have bedeviled the sub-region, Ghana under the current Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo, has demonstrated leadership in bringing together member states to share intelligence and counter acts of violent extremism and takeovers.
“In Ghana’s capacity as Chair of ECOWAS, under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo, we have provided leadership to address the sources of division and instability in our member states. This has also involved engaging in mediation and facilitation processes, bringing the various parties involved together to explore viable solutions, together, and tackle national crises that has the potential to affect us all,” she said.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in Accra, the Minister indicated that the spate of military takeovers in the region is one that needed to be addressed collectively and decisively before it devastated the whole region.
She said Ghana would use all available means, including her seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to rally a coordinated response to the security situation in West Africa.
“We are committed to ensuring a strong, united and effective African voice on the solutions that are critical to Africa’s progress including ending terrorism and extremist violence in the Sahel and elsewhere on the continent,” she added.
Stability and security
She stated that Ghana is concerned about the stability and security of the African continent, particularly in its immediate vicinity.
Ms Botchwey cited the shrinking of Lake Chad, which has resulted in irregular waves of migration to Ghana and other coastal states, as well as the flow of small arms and light weapons that accompany those flows of people and terrorists. She also cited the threats to maritime transportation and installations in the Gulf of Guinea as having large and small impacts on the country’s ability to develop, including achieving the Beyond Aid agenda.
“We cannot realise the benefits of free trade under African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), if terrorist violence, insecurity and political upheavals disrupt trade and the industrialisation agenda that should support increased trade and employment in our countries. Regional integration through ECOWAS and the other regional economic communities (RECs) are the building blocks for the integration of African economies, including through the AfCFTA,” she said.
“Its vast promise of free movement, a hugely competitive single market size and expanded economic opportunity for our businesses, workers and States is imperiled when there are disruptions to constitutional and democratic governance, which is the guarantee for peaceful, stable and thriving societies that we need,” the Minister added.
Ms Botchwey stressed that “attacks on our constitutional order in ECOWAS contribute to divisions and instability that undermine our efforts to counter radicalization and recruitment of our people by terrorists and violent extremists. We need to unify our peoples in order to defeat the terrorists.”