Honourbale Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey holds bilateral talks with the President of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides

Cyprus President shares Ms. Botchwey’s Commonwealth Vision

The President of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides said on Wednesday that he shared Ghanaian Foreign Minister and candidate for Commonwealth Secretary-General Shirley A. Botchwey’s vision for the Commonwealth, according to diplomats.

President Christodoulides made the remarks when he hosted a meeting with Ms. Botchwey, one of Africa’s top diplomats, at his office in Nicosia, the Cypriot capital, to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues, they said.

Ms. Botchwey’s vision for what she has called “A New Commonwealth” is founded on six-pillars, including stimulating trade and investment among the organization’s 56 member-countries who have a total annual GDP of over US$13 trillion.

Other pillars of Ms. Botchwey’s agenda include
skills training, innovation and financial support for start-ups to open up job opportunities at home for the youth, to stem the tide of illegal migration. Young people below age 30 comprise 60 percent of the Commonwealth’s 2.6 billion population.

The rest are democracy and good governance; climate change; building resilience in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Small States, and strengthening the London-based Secretariat to serve member-countries better.

Ms. Botchwey, has pledged to magnify and use the collective voice of Commonwealth nations to address the global climate crisis which is having a devastating ecological and socio-economic impact on the planet, and on SIDS and Small States in particular.

In May, at a SIDS Forum in Antigua, she called on international financial institutions and industrialized countries to re-engineer the global financial architecture to protect countries facing a clear existential threat from climate disasters and other external political crises.

The Commonwealth includes 33 Small States, of which 25 are SIDS. The Commonwealth is considered a voice for the most vulnerable states. Unlike the UN where five permanent members have the power of veto on the Security Council, each member-country of the Commonwealth has an equal vote in decision-making.

“The Commonwealth is a powerful organization, but it needs a different outlook and a new approach to make it even more impactful,” Cypriot foreign minister Dr. Constantinos Kombos, told Ms. Botchwey at a separate meeting.

Commonwealth Heads of Government will elect a new Secretary-General at their next summit when they meet in October in the Pacific Island state of Samoa.

The new leader will replace Baroness Patricia Scotland, a British Dominican, whose final term ends this year.

Ms. Botchwey, a lawyer, has served as Ghana’s foreign minister for nearly eight years, and is a member of Ghana’s national security council. She was deputy foreign minister nearly 20 years ago, and chaired the Council of Ministers of Ecowas, the west African regional body from 2020 to 2022.