The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK), Mr Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, says the time has come for the developed world to change its attitude and mentality about the developing world.
“The Western world needs to see Africa for what it is.
A continent full of the most extraordinary opportunities that can bring properity and employment in our countries, as well as help develop the African countries,” he said.
Mr Hunt made the remarks at a reception to mark the 70th anniversary celebration of the Commonwealth held at the British Council Hall in Accra on the theme; “the Connected Commonwealth”.
The reception formed part of the itinerary of Mr Hunt, who is in Ghana for a two-day official visit.
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The visit is intended to demonstrate how the UK–Ghana relationship, built on shared values, was progressing towards a common goal of a prosperous and secure Ghana that was delivering inclusive growth as it moves “Beyond Aid”.
Mr Hunt, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Lucia Hunt, was also on the trip with Africa’s Deputy Trade Commissioner, Mr Martin Kent, and a business delegation from the UK made up of representatives from BP, Ordnance Survey, London Stock Exchange, Aqua Africa, Bechtel, BHM Construction, Biwater, CDC, OSTC and Plexus Cotton.
Africa UK relationship
Mr Hunt said relationship between Africa and the developed world should be a lot more than handing over aid but should rather help Africa to stand on its feet.
He commended the numerous international companies that were projecting made-in-Ghana goods outside the continent.
He said there was the need to create opportunities for people in Ghana and Africa as a whole so that those countries could move beyond aid.
He commended Ghana for its ranking in the global media ranking, saying Ghana was ahead of the UK and commended Anas Aremeyaw Anas for the work that he was doing in the area of corruption.
He said there was debate in the developing countries whether to follow autocratic path of development or the democratic path, adding that Anas’s work had shown that the democratic path was the best as it exposed corruption in high places.
He said the trouble with the ‘strong man’ approach to development was that when the ‘strong man’ died, the country was thrown into a disarray citing Nigeria and Sudan as examples.
Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in a statement, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth.
She reiterated the country’s desire to continue to support the efforts of the organisation in promoting international rules which are based on order, economic growth and development, saying those were critical in achieving peace and security, prosperity and the overall objectives of the global agenda on sustainable development.
Ms Botchwey said Ghana would continue to play a constructive role in ensuring adherence to the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth through its membership of the Commonwealth Ministerial action Group (CMAG).
She said aside from other commitments made by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London recently, Ghana remained committed to playing a leading role in promoting peace and security in the West African region, in particular, and Africa as a whole.
The minister said “the rising threat of global terrorism and the presence of groups like Bokom Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb also presented unique challenges, which required interventions and solutions.
She called on the Commonwealth to adopt comprehensive measures at all levels to counter terrorism, including efforts to build respect and understanding and address grievances that promoted the growth and expansion of the threat.
Speaking on the government’s commitment to curbing cyber crime, Ms Botchwey said Ghana would continue to work closely with the Commonwealth in achieving its objectives of promoting international cooperation and building on its democratic processes to serve as an inspiration for stability and progress in Africa.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Skies, Ghana, Mr Anthony Pile, who spoke on ‘Sustainability’, said the company, which was the biggest private sector employer in the country, with more than 3,700 staff, was committed to ensuring sustainability.
He said the company worked at ensuring that it conformed to international standards and, therefore, was able to export to about 17 retail shops internationally.
Ace Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who also spoke on ‘fairness’, said as a practising journalists, it was always fair to give people equal opportunities when they wrote about them.
He said the law courts were there for people to seek that fairness, saying after his “No.12” expose, he was being sued in court 68 times.