Ayorkor Botchwey proposes changes in Commonwealth
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has proposed six measures for the transformation of the Commonwealth to enable it to serve rich and poor members equally.
They include policies that will facilitate trade and investment, regulate, yet make the flow of labour within Commonwealth countries easier and lead to greater investment in education, skills training, innovation and entrepreneurship for young people.
Ms Botchwey was speaking on the theme: “The Commonwealth in a Changing World” at the British foreign relations think tank, Chatham House in London, last week.
She also listed the other measures needed to revitalise the Commonwealth as climate adaptation, paying particular attention to small states and boosting the human and financial resources of the Commonwealth institution itself.
“Our citizens watch as we struggle with policies to raise growth in isolation through austerity and high taxes.
“The pie is simply not capable of feeding everyone, unless consumer-based market expansion considers the potential of our 2.5 billion population, 60 per cent of whom are 30 years or younger,” she said.
The Commonwealth comprises 56 countries from five regions, including some of the world’s largest and wealthiest, such as Australia and Canada, and the smallest, among them Tonga and St Kitts and Nevis.
Ms Botchwey said considering the size of its population, demographic and political profiles, as well as wealth and economic potential, the Commonwealth should be the second most consequential organisation of states globally.
“But the question we must ask ourselves is whether it is,” she said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister further proposed an industrialisation and economic diversification strategy linked to regional integration agreements and economic partnership agreements within and beyond the Commonwealth.
That, she said, would be “a guarantee against the stagnation that is widespread across our countries”.
She advocated a Commonwealth-wide mobility agreement to help redress labour and skills demand through “safe, orderly and regulated migration”.
Again, Ms Botchwey said what she termed as “a common Commonwealth market” would allow work and services to be exchanged without relocation of workers across borders, as well as have young people trained wherever they lived in the Commonwealth. — GNA