The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has inaugurated the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Ghana, a think tank whose aim is to enhance the advancement of Ghana’s foreign policy, and her relations within the comity of nations.
Speaking at the inauguration on Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, President Akufo-Addo noted that the aims and objectives of Ghana’s foreign policy derive 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.
“Our over-arching national goal is to develop rapidly, within a democratic framework, a modern, industrialised economy, which engages 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 said.
Ghana, he said, has, over the last two and a half decades, managed to build an enviable reputation as a peaceful and stable country, and a beacon of democracy in our region and on the continent.
“It is in our collective interest 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,” President Akufo-Addo explained.
To this end, the President stated that the Council on Foreign Relations is expected to 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.
With the world confronted with a recession in the spirit of multilateralism, together, simultaneously, with the growth of globalization, and an upsurge in the digital revolution, he noted that these challenges constitute opportunities and risks, which have the potential to revolutionize foreign policy and international relations.
“In light of these, we need a strong, reputable policy think tank to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed to enable them 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,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “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.”
The President urged the Executive Council of CFR Ghana, composed of a diverse group of retired diplomats, experienced lawyers, and media experts, to reach out to businessmen, economists, industrialists, technologists, and academics in the society to create an unrivalled, intellectual and a practical think tank whose programmes, projects and studies will permit Ghana address her challenges effectively.
President Akufo-Addo further urged CFR Ghana to imbibe the traits of excellence and solidarity in their engagements, and, whilst respecting their independence, he urged them not shy away from knocking on the doors of government should they require any assistance in any area of co-operation, which Government is in a position to grant.
“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,” .