Candidature Statement

Strengthening our nations

We, the people of the Commonwealth, come from diverse nations and cultures, but we share a common wealth of values.

I am Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. I’m honoured to be the candidate of the Republic of Ghana for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, when Heads of State meet in Samoa in October this year, to elect one.

I am inspired by Kente, the colourful, hand-woven fabric and emblem of Ghanaian and West African culture and style. Its array of threads weaves a tapestry that expresses unity and beauty in diversity. Each strand counts, affirms and strengthens the other, bringing the whole to life.

This is how I perceive the Commonwealth.

Vision Statement - Shirley Botchwey for Commonwealth Secretary-General 2024
Candidature Statement - Shirley Botchwey for Commonwealth Secretary-General 2024

Resilience across board

In the Commonwealth,  industrialized and developing countries alike, need one another; each must re-affirm the other to enable the institution to work even better for all its peoples.

I want to work with member states to build resilience for the times we face: stagnating economies; ever-increasing inequality; high youth unemployment; climate disasters; and threats to democracy and human rights.

We must work – together – to create resilience across board, building on our common traditions, and our respective strengths and comparative advantages.

I have a vision of transformation for a New Commonwealth; a vision that seeks to raise living standards in member-countries, by promoting a comprehensive Commonwealth plan around the following.

Trade and Investments

Climate Change

Youth, Education, Skills & Innovation

Managing Resources Effectively

Small Island Developing States

Prepared for transformation

My extensive experience over the past two decades, in diplomacy, trade, defence, security, communications, and as a mother have prepared me well for the challenge of transforming the Commonwealth.

Under my two-year leadership as Chair of Ecowas Council of Ministers, I oversaw reforms of the ECOWAS Commission, leading to significant savings which were subsequently utilized for Community Programmes.

Those reforms were undertaken during a period of political instability in the region, requiring me to lead successful missions to ensure transition to democracy in several West African countries.

Candidature Statement - Shirley Botchwey for Commonwealth Secretary-General 2024
Candidature Statement - Shirley Botchwey for Commonwealth Secretary-General 2024

Securing our common future

During Ghana’s recent two-year tenure on the UN Security Council, I sought the interests, not only of my country, but of Africa and other developing nations towards Peace and Security.

And so in December 2023, I worked together with other members to have a resolution passed at the  Security council, which would ensure that henceforth, all peace-keeping operations would be funded directly from the United Nations.

So, I am ready; ready for the exciting opportunity of working together with all Commonwealth leaders to build an ever stronger organization, to make our planet more secure and, together weave a brighter future, a happy tapestry of and for all our peoples.