We need to build digital infrastructure to boost connectivity within Commonwealth – Ayorkor Botchwey

Commonwealth countries have been urged to build effective digital infrastructure to boost connectivity within and among the member states.

This will help close the Commonwealth’s digital gap in health, education, trade, and other sectors of the economy for sustainable growth.

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, made the call at a lecture in Accra on the topic: “A Vision for a New Commonwealth in a Fast-Evolving World.”

The lecture was organised by the Council on Foreign Relations Ghana on Friday to mark its Fifth Anniversary.

She called for the design of a core curriculum and common standards to facilitate access to borderless financing to lead innovation, start-ups, and services in the world.

Research reveals that the youth in the Commonwealth constitute a third of all young people in the world. 

With advances in information and communication technology (ICT), she said automation, artificial intelligence, and the innovations of social media for distance learning were key to building the tech and workers of the 21st century for a Commonwealth-wide market.

Madam Botchwey pushed for a Commonwealth-wide mobility compact to redress labour and skills demand through safe, orderly, and regulated migration.

“Labour shortages and other rigidities as well as the lack of opportunity drove unsafe, disorderly, and unregulated migration that bedevilled policy and public sentiments in the richer parts of the Commonwealth,” she said.  

Ms Botchwey said the Commonwealth provided an opportunity for its member states and people to reshape a world fit for purpose.

The Commonwealth has a population of 2.5 billion, of which 60 per cent are aged 30 or younger. 

Commonwealth countries needed to create over 50, 000 decent jobs each day until 2030 to provide opportunities for young people entering the labour market, she said.

“It is estimated that together, Commonwealth countries need to create three in every five jobs in the world as the labour force in countries such as Japan, China, and Europe shrinked.”

The Commonwealth, the Foreign Minister said, had shown remarkable commitment to promoting prosperity, democracy, peace, justice, and human rights, and advocating environmental protection in terms of the blue economy and climate change through its Blue Charter.

She commended the leadership of the Commonwealth for its innovation and hard work in increasing the Secretariat’s accumulation of a reliable body of knowledge that had contributed to economic development.

Ghana on Friday announced the candidature of Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth to succeed the current Secretary-General, Madam Baroness Patricia Scotland, a dual Dominican-British citizen.

The Commonwealth is an association of 56 countries working towards shared goals of prosperity, democracy and peace.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is the intergovernmental organisation, which co-ordinates and carries out much of the Commonwealth’s work, supported by a network of more than 80 organisations.

Among its objectives are to protect the environment and encourage sustainable use of natural resources on land and sea, boost trade and the economy, support democracy, government and the rule of law, and support small states, helping them to tackle the particular challenges they face.

Source: GNA

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