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Ghanaians cornering UN portfolios

30 September 2000 | General News

ACCRA, September 29 -- Ghanaians appear to have cornered some of the most significant positions and roles in the United Nations several years after the first Ghanaian applied to work on the world body, and long before, Mr. Kofi Annan, scaled the heights and landed the most prestigious job of President of The World.

Significantly, most Ghanaians do not even know that in their midst is the man who heads the world body’s Pension Funds administration. Nana Were Ampem II (known as E.N Omaboe in private life) is the Chairman of the UN Pension fund which is reputed to have over $3.5 billion in its kitty.

Last month, Dr. Sam Jonah, Chief Executive of the multi-national Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited became the latest non-UN associated Ghanaian to accept a solicitation to serve on a new global business advisory body set up by the UN to shape the funding of projects worldwide.

The Business Advisory Council of the United Nations Orgainsation Operations, which headhunted Dr. Sam Jonah to serve on, has other notable world industrial and financial figures serving on it. It is chaired by Dana G. Mead, a celebrated international business personality.

The body is an initiative of the Ghanaian-UN Secretary-General to ensure key participation of the UN in global commerce capital formation and economic competition this century and to create the appropriate vehicle to ensure accountability of resources and provide services for the global body.

Another influential Ghanaian serving on the UN, Dr. K.Y Amoah, Under Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), delivered a lecture on “Economic Development and Reform Issues in Africa: Lessons for Ghana” at the University of Ghana, Legon, about a fortnight ago.

Another Ghanaian, Professor Alex Kwapong is the Vice-Director of the UN University in Tokyo, Japan. “It’s in the first place, historical, because Ghana was the first African country to join the UN, apart from Ethiopia and Liberia. And secondly, the pioneers who joined, did Africa proud”, said the fluent Italian-speaking Hackman Owusu Agyemang, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and MP for New Juaben, whom unknown to many Ghanaians, spent over 20 years working with the UN as the Chief of the Africa Bureau of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome.

He represented the UN specialized agency as Ambassador through several Caribean states, notably Trinidad and Tobago and Surinam, among others, before he joined the political trail in Ghana.

He said the performance of Ghanaian on the world body spurred the interest in Ghanaians for UN jobs. “Hackman was one of the pioneers who was able to carry on the trading of excellence, to become Chief of the Africa Bureau.

Currently serving as a Consultant to the UNDP is the renowned Ghanaian population expert, Professor Fred Torgbor Sai. The tall list of Ghanaians who have served on the UN and its specialized bodies include Mr. Robert Gardner, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Mr. Kenneth Dadzie, Under Secretary-General and a Director of UNCTAD.

Even, in the UN peacekeeping operations, Ghanaians continue to excel. From General E.A. Erskin, who became the first African to command a UN peacekeeping force, (UNIFIL) in Lebanon to Lt. General Henry Anyidoho, who was in command of the UN operations in Kigali, Rwanda, Ghanaians continue to fly high on the UN list.

Other notable Ghanaians who have served on the global body include one Mr. Chinebuah, Deputy Regional Representative of the Africa Region, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Mrs. Mary Chinebuah Hesse, Deputy General Secretary of the ICO, a unit of the ECA, Messrs. Quartey Papafio, FAO, Quist Arcton, FAO, J.S. Annan and Dr. Leticia Obeng, Director of the UNEP office in Nairobi, Kenya. At a point in time, there were about 60 Ghanaians within the UN system.

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