‘Media freedom is pivotal to fighting corruption in Africa’ - Jeremy Hunt
Mr Jeremy Hunt, the United Kingdom Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said one factor that could aid African nations to crackdown on corruption was by strengthening and sustaining media freedom.
This, he said, would enable the media to play complementary roles in the development process.
He lauded Ghana for being the beacon of democracy in Africa and coming ahead of the United Kingdom in the global media index, noting that one factor that made Ghana to stand out was her determination to build social capital to enable the society to function effectively.
He commended investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, for his tremendous role in fighting corruption.
Mr Hunt made the remarks at a reception to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Commonwealth, organised by the British High Commission, at the British Council in Accra on Monday.
The Anniversary is on the theme: ‘‘A Connected Commonwealth,” which brought together captains of industry, a Business Delegation from the United Kingdom, Members of Parliament and representatives from civil society organisations.
Mr Hunt is in the country for a two-day duty tour aimed at boosting trade and bilateral relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom.
He called for change of attitudes and mentality of the developed countries towards Africa since Africa could serve as a platform to help bring mutual development and prosperity.
He underscored the need to renew the vows of the Commonwealth member countries and recast the relationships between the developed and developing countries to go beyond aid towards stronger partnerships and business ties.
He commended the various charity and aid organisations on the African Continent that had helped to combat diseases, poverty and deprivation.
The Commonwealth is a global association with shared history, values and future to promote development and Ghana has played a pivotal role in the sustenance of the Association.
It comprised 53 independent sovereign states that are former colonies of the Great Britain, made up of 2.5 billion people, constituting one-third of the world’s population.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botcwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, on her part, said Ghana had played a pivotal role in realising the shared values of the Commonwealth and re-affirmed the nation’s commitment to the fundamental political values of the Organisation to promote international and economic growth.
The Minister said Ghana remained committed to playing a leading role in promoting peace and security in the West African Sub-region, through participation in peacekeeping, mediation and peacebuilding in conflict areas.
Madam Botchwey noted that the rising threat of global terrorism and the presence of groups like Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb countries also presented unique challenges, which required interventions and solutions.
She, therefore, assured of government’s commitment towards collaborating with other countries in the sub-region to strengthen security and improve the lives of the people.
Madam Botchwey urged the Commonwealth to adopt comprehensive measures at all levels to counter terrorism, including efforts at building respect and understanding to address grievances to curb the threats and promote growth.
She said the Government recognised the threat of cybercrime and that the nation was prepared to implement the Cyber Declaration, which was adopted by Heads of Government in London in April 2018.
Ghana would also continue to engage with international institutions and technology partners, such as the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation and the Commonwealth Communication Union, to ensure cyber safety in the world, she said.