President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Ghana, a think tank to enhance the advancement of Ghana's foreign policy, and her relations within the comity of nations.
At the inauguration in Accra, he noted that the aims and objectives of Ghana's foreign policy are derived 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, industrialized 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 explained.
Ghana, he said, had 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 stated.
To this end, the President asked the Council on Foreign Relations 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 globalisation, and an upsurge in the digital revolution, he noted that these challenges constitute opportunities and risks, which have the potential to revolutionise 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 to 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.
"I would, therefore, expect CFR Ghana to assist us to 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", he said.
The President again 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 to address her challenges effectively.
He further wanted the 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.