President inaugurates Council on Foreign Relations

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday inaugurated the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Ghana, calling on the body to help deepen international partnerships and facilitate social change.

The CFR Ghana is a think tank whose aim is to enhance the advancement of Ghana’s Foreign Policy, and her relations within the comity of nations.

At an inaugural ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana’s Foreign Policy objectives was derived from the now-entrenched values of attachment to democracy, respect for individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.

He said the country’s over-arching national goal was to develop rapidly within a democratic framework and modern, industrialised economy that engaged with the world “on the basis of things we make, and not on the export of raw materials and, which creates a society of opportunities for our young people, enabling them to live productively in dignity.”

The President noted further that over the past two decades, Ghana had built an enviable reputation as a peaceful and stable country, and a beacon of democracy in the sub-region and on the Continent.

He said it was in the collective interest of Ghana that “we do everything we can to preserve this hard-won reputation, and attract the investments that will facilitate the structural transformation of our economy, so central to the future prosperity and stability of our country”.

“Our Foreign Policy is an extension of our aims, achieved through the vehicle of good neighbourliness, which seeks friendship with all nations who seek our friendship and partnership in furtherance of these aims.

“These principles guide our relations with our regional body ECOWAS, our continental body the AU, the inter-governmental structures of the commonwealth and la Francophone and the confines of the global community of the UN,” the President noted.

Thus, the CFR, President Akufo-Addo said, should act as facilitators in improving policy making and execution, and as key agents of social change.

“If effectively positioned and focused, think tanks can strike a formidable partnership with State and non-State actors alike, to set and deepen the agenda of public discourse, and shape national, regional, continental and global conversations, he said.

The President said the challenges associated with the upsurge in digital revolution, coupled with multilateralism, global recession and globalisation, presented opportunities and risks, which had the potential to revolutionise foreign policy and international relations.

Therefore, there was a strong need for a reputable policy think tank to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the defence and promotion of the national interest.

“As the saying goes, foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy or, as one American author succinctly put it, foreign policy begins at home… I would, therefore, expect CFR Ghana to assist us keep our eyes on the ball in a manner that allows us to deal with critical challenges at home, on the continent and amongst multilateral institutions.”

President Akufo-Addo urged the Executive Council of CFR Ghana to create an unrivalled, intellectual and a practical think tank whose programmes, projects and studies would enable Ghana to effectively address her challenges.

He urged CFR Ghana to imbibe the traits of excellence and solidarity in their engagements.

“I trust that, driven by the twin principles of excellence and solidarity, CFR Ghana will seek to become, in the shortest possible time, one of the leading go-to think tanks not only in Ghana, but also in the region, the continent and in the world. CFR Ghana should contribute its quota into shaping the Ghana we want, so she can continue to be effective and relevant on the international stage.”

The Council is to mobilise the rich and profound pool of Ghanaian experts in international relations, peace and security issues to place their expertise, experience and knowledge at the disposal of the Government, international organisations, the public, academia and all those who seek to understand better foreign policy issues and choice of the time.

Membership of the Council include active and retired diplomats, lawyers, media practitioners, bankers, financial experts, academicians, traditional leaders and corporate bodies.