Malawian President says Ayorkor Botchwey Candidature well received

Accra, Feb.13, GNA – Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera says the candidacy of Ghana’s foreign minister, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, for Commonwealth Secretary-General has been “well-received”.

President Chakwera, whose country is a member of the Commonwealth, received Madam Botchwey at the presidential palace in the capital, Lilongwe on Monday, and discussed bilateral issues.

These include the foreign minister’s Commonwealth candidature.

He told Madam Botchwey: “Malawi welcomes your candidature.  It shows President Akufo-Addo has confidence in your skill and competence.” 

The foreign minister’s candidacy was formally announced last Friday in Ghana.  It has received bipartisan support in the country’s often fractious parliament.

A new Commonwealth Secretary-General will replace Baroness Patricia Scotland when Heads of Government of the 56-member organisation meet in October in Samoa. Her final term expires at the end of 2024.

The new leader will come from Africa, as agreed at the last meeting of Heads of Government in Kigali in 2022. There are 21 African countries in the Commonwealth, which has a combined annual economic output of more than US$13 trillion, and a population in excess of 2.6 billion people.

Madam Botchwey shared her vision for “a new Commonwealth,” including a focus on trade and investment; harnessing ICT for skills, innovation and start-ups to provide jobs for young people, and a migration compact to respond to demand across the Commonwealth and stem the tide of illegal and perilous migration.

She also outlined her vision on addressing climate change, saying it was a threat to all member states, not least small island developing states, and called for a strong Commonwealth voice for the concerted action needed to save the planet for future generations.

President Chakwera responded saying he appreciated Ms. Botchwey’s overall focus, and on trade and investments and young people in particular. 

Meanwhile, Malawi has granted visa-free entry to Ghanaians, an initiative Ms. Botchwey said would be reciprocated.