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03.03.2005 Togo

Ghana's diplomatic strategy paid off in Togo - Minister

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Accra, March 3,GNA - Mr Akwasi Osei Agyei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs -Designate, on Thursday said Ghana adopted the right diplomatic strategy in the restoration of democratic culture in Togo. He said: "In diplomacy, taking time to make the right decision is very important. You listen, wait and weigh certain factors before you act."

Mr Osei Adjei, who was appearing before the Parliamentary Appointment Committee, said Ghana did not rush in the case of Togo but her patience paid off.

On the issue of the appointment of Career Diplomats as Ambassadors, he said although the prerogative of appointment rested with the President, he would ask that a bigger percentage of such appointments be given them as motivation.

He disagreed with the notion that Ghana only flexed her diplomatic muscle in the affairs of small African countries.

He said the Ministry had on several occasions scolded diplomats, sought their recall and shielded Ghana's interest and that these actions had been taken regardless of which country the person or mission represented.

The nominee said Ghana was seeking a strategy to benefit from the brain drain phenomenon.

He said it was just unfair for poor nations to develop their human resources only to be taken away by the rich nations.

On his personal achievements, he said the "Friday wear" concept where Public Officials and Civil Servants were encouraged to wear locally made apparel on Fridays, was his brainchild. He said it had now become an official policy that all Ghanaian Ambassadors furnished their homes and offices with Ghana made furniture and accessories.

He said the policy would not only help to grow the local industry but to sell Ghana abroad.

The Nominee said his proposal of the establishment of an Estate unit within Foreign Affairs Ministry where professionals would be charged to man the estate profile of the Ministry was yet to be accepted.

Earlier, Mr Samuel Owusu Agyei, Deputy Minister of Health-Designate and Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry-Designate appeared before the Committee.

Mr Owusu Agyei said the National Health Insurance Scheme would afford easy access to healthcare to the poor when it became operational. He said the issue had been the inability of the poor to pay for healthcare.

Mrs Ohene Konadu said she would help Ghanaian women to access credit and knowledge to run their businesses. 03 March 05

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