Ayorkor Botchwey meets with Sultan of Brunei; discusses cooperation & Commonwealth

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On Saturday, June 8, 2024, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III, granted an audience to Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation and renew the Commonwealth.

The meeting took place at the splendid Istana Nurul Iman palace in Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. Both the Sultan and Ms. Botchwey expressed a firm commitment to enhancing cooperation across multiple sectors and reiterated their shared values and mutual interests.

A key highlight of the discussions was global climate change, with both parties acknowledging the urgent need to combat this pressing issue. They agreed that collaborative initiatives among Commonwealth nations would help mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.

Ms. Botchwey, one of Africa’s leading diplomats and a former ECOWAS legislator, has made climate change a pillar of her bid to become the Commonwealth Secretary-General. A new Secretary-General is due to be elected in October by the Heads of Government of the 56-member organization.

Earlier, Ms. Botchwey held talks with her counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs II of Brunei, Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof. They discussed youth empowerment and strategies to create skills and livelihood opportunities for young people across the Commonwealth. With sixty percent of the Commonwealth’s 2.6 billion people under thirty years old, youth development is a critical focus.

In a notable development, the two ministers discussed the prospect of waiving visas for their respective diplomatic and service passport holders to facilitate more efficient engagement between Ghana and Brunei.

Ms. Botchwey also visited the impressive Brunei National Museum, where artefacts include a sculpted drummer from Ghana, presented to Sultan Bolkiah by President Jerry Rawlings 24 years ago during a visit to Brunei.

Ms. Botchwey is confident that the outcomes of this visit could signal a resurgence of relations between Ghana and oil-rich Brunei, and underscore the potential for “A New Commonwealth” should she become Secretary-General.

During her years in the ECOWAS Parliament, she served as vice-chair of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) committees. Ms. Botchwey was a legislator for 16 years in Ghana’s Parliament, including eight as MP for the most populous constituency, which was subsequently split into three.

Some analysts consider her a “people’s diplomat,” capable of engaging with youth, traders, kiosk attendants, and sultans in gold-bedecked palaces with equal ease.

Source: myghanadaily


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