A seasoned and accomplished African diplomat; 4-term national legislator, and trusted ECOWAS parliamentarian; ethical and exemplary leader, and lawyer; engages youth and fisherfolk, and global leaders in gilded corridors of power with equal ease; a people’s diplomat.

Leading transformation

Honourable Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey is a lawyer and politician who has served as Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration since 2017.

She has a wealth of experience in diplomacy that goes back almost two decades, to 2005. During President John Kufuor’s administration, she served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for four years. Before that, she held the positions of Deputy Minister for Information and Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry.

Hon. Shirley Botchwey has achieved many diplomatic and administrative successes during her tenure as Foreign Minister. She established a Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to improve the training, human resource capacity, and service conditions of Ghanaian diplomats. Under her leadership, extensive digitalization has been introduced to streamline and improve consular and passport services both at home and in overseas missions.

Driving sustained reforms

Hon. Shirley Botchwey has been one of Africa’s most recognizable diplomats, contributing to the high visibility and positive image enjoyed by Ghana under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s leadership since 2017.

Hon. Botchwey led and steered the unanimous passage of UN Resolution 2719 (Document S/2023/999) in December 2023, during Ghana’s two-year non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. This unprecedented resolution now enables the UN to fund African Union-led Peace Support Operations, which is a big win for Africa.

Under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, Hon. Botchwey played a key role in introducing the “Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” policies in 2019.

Those initiatives which marked 400 years of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, have remarkably strengthened the bonds between the governments and people of the Caribbean and Africa in general, and Ghana, in particular, from where millions of slaves were taken and many in the Americas consider their ancestral home.

“To respond to the needs of our fast-changing world, we need to leverage our values to deliver on the aspirations of our people”

Fostering transition

Hon. Botchwey served as the chair of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for two consecutive terms from 2020 to 2022. During her tenure, she played a crucial role in negotiating the transition towards democracy in the region, a situation that remains fluid and continues to engage her attention and expertise.

During her leadership, the Council provided advice to the Authority of Heads of State and the Government of ECOWAS on various issues.

These included the response to security threats in the Sahel and West Africa region, the review of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and the reform of the ECOWAS Commission. The council also recommended budget reforms to ensure efficiency and increased funding for community programs, which are particularly dear to her.

Dedicated to service

Hon. Botchwey served as a member of the ECOWAS Parliament from 2013 to 2017. She was Vice-Chair for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Committees during this time. Her contributions to the institution included advising its organs on matters related to fundamental human rights and freedoms, helping to shape their work.

Hon. Botchwey, a woman of the people, served as a Member of Parliament for four terms, which is equivalent to 16 years. She represented the most populous constituency in Ghana, Weija, for two terms, from 2005 to 2013, until it was demarcated. After that, she represented Anyaa-Sowutuom for two more terms, from 2013 to 2021. During her time on the opposition benches from 2009 to 2013, Hon. Botchwey remained committed to making a difference and served as the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs.

In addition to Foreign Affairs, she was a member of the Defence and Interior, Communications, and Gender and Children Committees.

Cross-cutting expertise

Before entering frontline politics, Hon. Shirley Botchwey ran a marketing and communication consultancy.

Hon. Botchwey is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana. She holds a law degree from the Ghana School of Law, as well as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of London. She also holds an Executive MBA from the University of Ghana Business School, Legon; and an MA in Public Communications & Public Relations, University of Westminster, London.

Hon. Botchwey is a member of the Ghana National Association of Alternative Dispute (ADR) Practitioners, a Fellow of Africa Leadership Initiative (West Africa), and The Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network.

She is a mother of two.

“Through repositioning, we can transform the economies of our member countries and sustain the democratic dividend for all”