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20.04.2007 General News

Ghana must institutionalize "operative mechanisms" - Lecturer


Professor Kwame Boafo-Arthur, Head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, has called for the institutionalization of the various operative mechanisms of the nation's economic diplomacy to facilitate the natural flow of international benefits and their sustenance, irrespective of who was at the helm of affairs.

He said the trend where economic gains that accrued from economic diplomacy appeared to be the outcome of the personal touch or intervention by the President portended a long-term danger to the sustainability of the policy since the term of the President was bound to end.

Professor Boafo-Arthur, who has attained the highest point of full Professorship, was presenting the inaugural lecture on the topic: "Regime Change and Foreign Policy Orientation in Ghanaian Politics: The Post-Nkrumah Years in Perspective."

As part of its calendar, the University of Ghana invites faculty members who have attained the highest point of academic achievement of full Professorship to present inaugural lectures on a topic of their choice. This is the third for this academic year.

Professor Boafo-Arthur noted that Ghana's political history had been punctuated by several regime changes characterized as '"Democratic-to-Non-democratic regime changes in 1966, 1972 and 1981, Non-democratic-to-Democratic regime changes in 1969, 1979 and 1993, Non-Democratic-to-Non Democratic regime changes in 1978 and 1979 and then Democratic-to-Democratic regime change in 2001.

He said every regime change had affected either the mode or sustenance of the nation's international relations, which fell under four identifiable different forms of foreign policy changes namely, adjustment changes, programme changes, problem or goal changes and international orientation changes.

Professor Boafo-Arthur noted that the post-Nkrumah years had experienced confused outward state orientation due to frequent regime changes, which had led to continuities as well as changes in foreign policy orientation.

He said this had been without the grandeur, dynamism and purposefulness of the Nkrumah years as all the post-Nkrumah regimes made efforts to make changes in both internal and external policies.

"For fifty years Ghana has been struggling to stand on its feet internally and externally. The country has endured all kinds of hardship brought about by political instability which manifested in several regime changes."

In the process, foreign policy decision-making suffered discontinuities, infelicities, uncoordinated policy measures and lack of focus.

"However, with the establishment of the Fourth Republic, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel with regard to our international interactions. The noted ad-hocism in policy making, inconsistency, dour and uncoordinated policy measures seem to have come to an end...."

This was because democracy was consolidated on daily basis and with it the strengthening of the institutions for developmental foreign policy decision-making.

He said Ghana had now reached a stage in her development where change in government was not bound to lead to a significant shift in foreign policy orientation since the avenue had been created for the development and pursuit of a developmental foreign policy in Ghana.

Professor Boafo-Arthur said the key issue that should engage the attention of the government under this was the utilization of international interactions to enhance the living standards of the majority of the people.

He said this could be the case when the concept "human security" took centre stage of the policy making process and should concentrate on ensuring human security as opposed to orthodox or classical security concerns.

Professor Boafo-Arthur said since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, our foreign policy had been stable and commended the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party governments for adopting pragmatic economic policies that would give meaning to developmental yearnings embedded in the 1992 Constitution.

He said the developmental nature of Ghana's current foreign policy aimed at establishing a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principle encompassed "the recognition that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty".

The professor said the NPP government had done a lot in the area of sourcing financial support to attain goals of human security citing the HIPC initiative and the Millennium Challenge Account which had been earmarked for projects that would satisfy the needs of the people.

Professor Nii Boi Tagoe, Vice Chancellor of the University commended Professor Boafo-Arthur for a lucid academic lecture which lasted for almost three hours and which served as enlightenment into Ghana's political history.

He called on the students, some of who had embarked on a demonstration earlier in the day, to petition the President on the proposed In-Out-Out-Out residential facility, to bear with the University authorities to find an amicable solution.

Source: GNA