Ghana has for the first time in its diplomatic history opened formal diplomatic missions in the Islamic States of Kuwait and Qatar.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this at the Flagstaff House on Wednesday when he presented letters of credence to eight envoys, including the two for the new missions in Kuwait and Qatar.
The ambassadors-designate for the two new missions are Mr Yahaya Iddi Ahmed-Rufai and Mr Emmanuel Enos, respectively.
The President said Ghana was establishing diplomatic missions in those countries for the first time and asked the Ghanaian envoys to work to cement the relations between Ghana and the two countries.
The other ambassadors-designate are Mr Francis Abakah, Sierra Leone; Mr Ernest-Burke Asare-Asiedu, Liberia, and Mrs Hannah Ama Nyarko, Israel.
The rest are Mr Joseph Kwaku Antwi, the Democratic Republic of Congo; Mrs Perpetua O. Dufu, Angola, and Mr Sayuti Yahaya Addi, Iran.
President Akufo-Addo said the eight had been carefully chosen and they were eminently fit to represent the country’s interest in the areas they had been posted to.
He added that those who had been selected were career foreign service men and women who had served diligently and risen to the pinnacle of their career.
The President recounted that as a veteran in the foreign service, having served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Presidency of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, he had had a personal encounter with them and could count on their mettle.
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He said their roles were threefold — diplomatic, ceremonial and administrative — and reminded them that in all of these, they had the onerous responsibility to promote and project Ghana’s image.
“You represent a country that is regarded as one of the stable on the African continent; a beacon of democracy which is governed by the rule of law, respect for individual liberty, human rights and the principles of democratic accountability,” the President said.
He reminded them that they were the most visible image of Ghana in the countries they were being posted to and advised that in all their actions they ought to jealously guard the country’s image.
President Akufo-Addo re-echoed the call that his government had made it a policy to seek more private sector equity financing for the country’s infrastructural projects rather than the resort to borrowing.
That situation, he said, had led to the ballooning of the country’s debt stock and pointed out that it meant that they had to become the drivers of investment to Ghana, as the chief promoters of Ghana’s commercial interests in the countries they had been sent to.
“Promoting Ghana means working closely with our ministries and agencies back home whose duties are to generate investment in the country”, he added.
The President urged them to always remember the flagship programmes of the government, such as the “Planting for Food and Jobs and one district, one factory.
He added that the aim of the government was to shift focus from a tax-based and raw material exporting economy to one that was predicated on manufacturing and industrialisation.
Respect staff of missions
The President advised the envoys to respect staff of the missions abroad who were well-nuanced in the environs of the host country and work closely with them in actualising their set targets.
He said Ghana had long-standing relations with the countries they were being sent to and that their responsibility was to work assiduously at deepening the already existing relationships and finding new ways of co-operation that would be mutually beneficial.
“In doing so, you will recall at all times our objectives to build a Ghana beyond aid; a Ghana which has a system of government free of corruption and which is self-reliant and exploiting all its resources with hard work, enterprise and creativity to build a free, prosperous Ghana of the dreams of the founding fathers of our nation,” he stressed.
He reminded the envoys that Ghanaians had placed their hope of a better life in them and that they could not afford to fail the nation.
President honours Mr E. M. Debrah
In a related development, President Akufo-Addo has decorated a retired career Foreign Service professional, Mr E. M. Debrah, for his outstanding contribution to the establishment of a robust and internationally appealing foreign service for the country.
He was part of the first 10 people who were recruited into the service in 1955 and served in a number of foreign missions. Mr Debrah facilitated the signing of the OAU Charter, one of his topmost achievements
He was also instrumental in the setting up of the country’s missions in Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Mozambique.
The President, in a citation, eulogised Mr Debrah for the selfless role and sacrifices he made that led to the current envious status of Ghana’s Foreign Service.
He was a one-time secretary to Cabinet and head of the civil service. From 2006 till now, Mr Debrah has remained a consultant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Debrah, in his remarks, said at the time of his enlistment into the service, there were nine others but added that he was the only one alive currently.
For him, it is gratifying to have rendered service to Ghana in a selfless manner and “that is the hallmark of every true citizen.”