The Chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has called for a renewed partnership between the Commonwealth and Africa, post the COVID-19 world, in order to pursue the common agenda of improving the lives of every citizen of Commonwealth nation.
He made the call on Monday when he addressed attendees of a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, at her residence, as part of activities marking Commonwealth Day.
According to Mr Asare Otchere-Darko, recent events in the world have shown how much the world has become “interdependent and that the current number of African countries, who are part of the Commonwealth, provide great opportunities that must be taken advantage off”.
He explained that the Commonwealth network provides strong gateways to other global networks, which can benefit everyone.
“For example, out of the G77 countries, 44 are members of the Commonwealth. Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia – longstanding members of the Commonwealth – link member countries to the ASEAN network, made up of 10 countries. Twelve members of the Caribbean Community and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, seven members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and 10 members of the Pacific Island Forum are also all Commonwealth members,” he said.
Mr Asare Otchere-Darko also mentioned Canada, which is one of the largest economies in the Commonwealth, and which provides an important Segway into the USA for many countries.
Similarly, he cited Malta, Cyprus and formerly the U.K, that provide an important gateway to the European Union.
He said one finds that almost half – an incredible 19 of the 39 African Union countries – can be found in the Commonwealth, adding that this provides great opportunities and partnerships that enable outside markets to economically engage with Africa, and vice versa.
“This also creates the opportunity for African countries, both within the Commonwealth and the African Union, to engage in intra-Africa trade – with each other. This is a real advantage,” he added.
Touching on the gains likely to arise from the partnership, Mr Asare Otchere-Darko emphasized: “Commonwealth and African partnership can provide the perfect petri dish to facilitate trade, enterprise, investment, jobs and prosperity”.
“Post the world of COVID-19, there has not been a time when this is as much needed as it is today. By utilising the wealth that we have in common – a common language, common culture and common laws – we can seize a great opportunity to better the lot of all citizens across the Commonwealth,” he stated.
He said it is imperative that “we act now, by jumping into the saddle, before the horse bolts.”
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, reiterated Ghana’s commitment to the aspirations of the Commonwealth.
Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong said Ghana stands ready to boost her trade relations with all Commonwealth nations in spite of the current difficulties being experienced by the global economy.