Ayorkor Botchwey proposes changes in Commonwealth
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has proposed six measures for the transformation of the Commonwealth to serve rich and poorer 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.
According information from the Foreign Ministry made available to the Ghana News Agency, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey made the suggestions at the British Foreign Relations think tank Chatham House in London on the theme: “The Commonwealth in a Changing World”.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey mentioned 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 old or younger, ” she noted.
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 – Tonga and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said considering the size of its population, demographic and political profiles, as well as its 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 asked rhetorically.
The Minister 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 for a Commonwealth-wide mobility agreement to help redress labour and skills-demand through “safe, orderly and regulated migration”.
Additionally, what Madam Botchwey called “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.