President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo has announced a new import tax aimed at supporting the activities of the African Union (AU).
“Indeed, Cabinet just approved a 0.2 per cent deductions in all imports outside AU as a fund to support the activities of AU, so that AU will not go begging other countries for its citizens,” President Nana Akufo-Addo stated in a speech read on his behalf at the closing ceremony of a five day orientation workshop for newly appointed envoys in Accra.
He reminded the envoys, who would be heading towards African countries that Africa remained a focal point of Ghana’s Foreign Policy objectives. “As our first President proclaimed during the eve of Ghana’s Independence: ‘the Independence of Ghana will be meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African Continent’,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo explained that this theme dominated Ghana’s foreign policy during Dr Nkrumah’s years in office and through successive governments.
He said Ghana and it’s first President therefore, played a leading role in the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963.
The President said Ghana as a founding member of the OAU now AU and in line with the commitment of the realisation of the ideals and objectives of Union accelerated economic integration and development.
“Ghana had continued to co-operate with other members of the AU and had actively participated in the activities of the AU since its formation.
“It is significant to note that Ghana hosted the 2007 AU Summit, in the year of our nation’s golden Jubilee.
“It is in the light of this commitment that I led Ghana’s delegation to attend the 28th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 25 to 31, 2017,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo said the Assembly of Heads of among other commitments signed up to the Continental Free Trade Agreement, whose purpose was to ensure significant growth in intra-Africa trade and to assist countries to use trade more effectively for growth and sustainable development.
It was also during the Summit that in further recognition of Ghana’s immense contribution to the AU and the determination of Ghana to retake her pride of place on the Continent that, Mr Kwesi Quartey was elected as Deputy Chairman of the AU Commission, while Kathleen Quartey Ayensu and Daniel Batidam were elected onto two legal organs of the Union.
President Akufo-Addo said the Ambassadors, who would be posted to African countries and those who would be dealing with AU matters, particularly Ghana’s Permanent Mission at the AU in Addis Ababa, would be evaluated against the backdrop of their role in the support for the pursuit of the AU Agenda 2063.
To the Ambassadors, who would be going to Ghana’s Missions in the West Africa sub-region, the President said they had the arduous but achievable task in working assiduously towards the speedy realisation of the sub-regional integration projects.
He said Ghana’s policy had been to ensure that the region attained peace, security and stability for sustainable development in order to ensure the speedy actualisation of ECOWAS projects.
“While consolidating our transitional exiting bilateral economic relations in Europe and the Americas the dynamic of the world economy has changed over the past decades, with the rise of the Asian Tigers like South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan and more recently the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“These countries are projected to join the league of newly industrialised countries including Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey,” he noted.
“While not forgetting our traditional trading and donor partners, these countries have become alternative sources of development assistance.
“They have become a hub for economic and financial activity and present opportunities for trade, market, and financial resources and have attracted interest even among the most developed countries many of whom have taken steps to recalibrate their economic, trade, and foreign policies to engage meaningfully in the region.
“Particularly the Asia Pacific region, which has become an area for competition and it is a place to look out for economic partnership,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Ghana cannot be left out of the equation and those of you who will be posted to the region will have to redouble your efforts in exploring opportunities for appropriate technology, financial and technical support in our efforts at industrialisation and creation of jobs for our teeming mass of unemployed.”
He noted that another crucial aspects of Ghana’s foreign policy objectives was the pursuit of economic diplomacy; stating that “Ghana’s international relations over the years in terms of bilateral engagement as they relate to our economic diplomacy agenda had been varied across political dispensations.
President Akufo-Addo urged Ghana’s missions abroad to attend the consular and welfare needs of Ghanaians residing outside the country.
Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, the Senior Minister commended President Akufo-Addo for appointing a hybrid of both old and young as Ghana’s new envoys.
Mr Ayikoi Otoo, Ghana’s High Commissioner designate to Canada, on behalf of his colleagues expressed gratitude to the President for the honour done them.