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Principles and Tenets of Ghanas Foreign Policy


A country's foreign policy is largely determined by its geography, history, external threats, military might
and domestic political and economic situation. It is also influenced by the nature and ideology of regimes
in power, the interests of bureaucrats and pressure groups, as well as the country's exposure to the
external/international environment. While a country cannot change its geography and history, other
factors are subject to change, and for that reason foreign policy must be adaptable to changing
circumstances to be meaningful and relevant.

Indeed, diplomacy, the established method of international discourse, or the art of managing international
relations, has undergone fundamental changes over the years, adjusting to the different stages and periods
in the historical evolution of the international system. The traditional emphasis on issues relating to war
and peace has given way to the myriad of issues arising from changes in the international system. As a
result of these changes, some issues that once dwelt essentially within the domain of domestic policy
have assumed trans-national dimensions, adding to the challenges facing developing countries in

These new challenges, obviously, create a sense of
urgency in not only finding effective national
strategies but also in coordinating international
responses to contain them. It is on account of
developments such as this that diplomacy, which
historically meant the conduct of official relations
between sovereign states, usually bilaterally,
expanded in the 20th century to cover summit
meetings and other international conferences, public
and parliamentary diplomacy, the international
activities of supranational and sub-national entities,
unofficial diplomacy by non-governmental entities,
and the work of international civil servants.

The goal of diplomacy is to further the state's interests, safeguard the country's independence, security,
territorial, political and economic integrity. It also seeks to preserve a wide freedom of action to the state
and to maximize national advantage without resort to the use of force, and preferably without causing
resentment. Its primary purpose is to generate goodwill for the state, gaining advantages and allies for it
while neutralizing opponents.

Principles of Foreign Policy

It was with the foregoing assumptions in mind that the framers of our Constitution enshrined in Articles
40, 41 and 73 of the document the following as the broad tenets of Ghana's foreign policy:
the promotion and protection of the sovereignty and interests of Ghana as a nation;

contribution to the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order;

promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations;

promotion of the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means; and

adherence to the Charters, Treaties and principles of the United Nations, the African Union, the
Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Economic Community of West African States,
and any other International Organisations which Ghana is a member.

Parameters of Foreign Policy

These principles of Foreign Policy flow from the parameters of policy set for Ghana by her first
President, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, whose intentions were to:
consolidate Ghana's hard-won independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity;

facilitate the total liberation of Africa from colonial domination;

project the African personality on the international scene;

foster cooperation and unity among African nations and peoples;

promote close cooperation and unity of purpose within the Non-Align Movement;

work through the United Nations, the Commonwealth and other inter

national organisations to promote world peace in aid of the development of new and smaller

Africa Policy

Ghana's foreign policy has, since its inception, naturally pivoted on a strong Africa Policy which seeks
firmly establish Africa and Ghana at the centre-stage of international politics;

accelerate the pace of decolonization and lay the foundations for Africa's economic emancipation;

promote Africa unity in furtherance of the continent's socio-economic development;

active engagement in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa in aid of the
continent's development;

contribution to the realization of the objectives of the AU and NEPAD;

promotion of good neighbourliness throughout Africa to foster the closest possible cooperation and
collaboration with all other African countries for the acceleration of the continent's development.
The adoption of the Lusaka decision on the transition of the OAU to the AU in July 2001, and subsequent
launching of the AU and NEPAD marked a turning point in Africa's quest for unity and development,
bringing to the fore of the continent's agenda, the key issue of peace, security, good governance, poverty
alleviation and sustainable development.
As a founding member of the AU and its precursor, the OAU, Ghana has maintained active interest in all
matters pertaining to Africa's security, stability and development. Africa will continue to occupy a place
in importance in Ghana's conduct of her external relations.
Sub-Regional Policy
Of critical importance to Ghana is her relation with countries within the West African sub-region. The
sub-region dimension of her Africa policy therefore focuses on:
promoting good neighbourliness between Ghana and her immediate neighbours, particularly Togo,
Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Benin with which Ghana shares ties of blood, history,
culture and com- merce. Ghana's objective in that regard continues to be to foster the closest
possible cooperation and collaboration with those countries towards the attainment of better
political understanding and peaceful co-existence.

facilitating the attainment of ECOWAS' economic objective of developing an effective free trade
area with mechanisms for the application of a common external tariff and a revenue-generating
community levy;

maintaining Ghana's commitment to achieve macro-economic conver- gence in West Africa,
particularly among the five member states of the Second Monetary Zone;

contributing to the ultimate creation of a common currency and com- mon market for West Africa;

facilitating the implementation of all ECOWAS protocols, particularly the Protocol on the Free
Movement of Persons and Goods;

contributing to the early resolution of West Africa's intra-state conflicts which have foisted an
image of instability on the entire sub-region with adverse consequences for the drive by its
constituent states to attract much needed inflows of foreign direct investment.
Since 2001 in particular, the pursuit of this policy of good neighbourliness has resulted in the close
affinity, characterised by frequent interactions and consultations, which currently exists between the
leaders of Ghana and those of the West African region in general and with those of the five countries, in
particular. Through their collaborative efforts, the security of Ghana's borders with Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina
Faso and Togo continues to be assured. Nigeria's proximity as a reliable source of crude oil on
concessionary terms also guarantees Ghana's energy security.
Economic Diplomacy
Since the effective termination of foreign domination in Africa, symbolised by the demise of apartheid
and colonial rule in South Africa, economic diplomacy has emerged as a logical sequel to the policy of
African emancipation so well articulated at independence and effectively executed by successive
Governments of Ghana. Thus, Ghana's foreign policy now attaches great importance to economic
activities such as the promotion of trade, investment and tourism which are, indeed, imperatives in
sustaining economic growth and national development.
Ghana's policy of economic diplomacy enjoins the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all of the country's
Diplomatic Missions abroad to:
project Ghana's private sector as the engine of growth and strive to link actors in the sector up with
foreign counterparts in strategic alliances and partnerships to develop the sector;

project Ghana as a whole as a propitious destination for foreign investors and tourists;

seek market access abroad for Ghana's export products;

sustain and further develop international goodwill for Ghana to ensure increased and uninterrupted
inflows of official development assistance from development partners in support of our
development priorities and overall economic aspirations;

ensure Ghana's inclusion in all most-favoured-nation arrangements of its development partners - e.g.
AGOA and the Millennium Challenge Account offered by the United States;

facilitate Ghana's inclusion in any Debt Relief package on offer from creditor nations;

prepare the grounds for the commercial participation of Ghanaian businesses in the reconstruction
efforts of post conflict countries that benefited from Ghana's peace initiatives and participation in
peacekeeping operations.

Coming to Terms with Current Trends on the International Scene
Ghana, like all other developing countries cannot avoid dealing with the foreign policy challenges posed
by new trends on the international scene. Notable among these are the triumph of democracy over
dictatorship in several parts of the world, and the phenomenon of globalisation which has forcefully
brought home the reality of the notion of the global village.
Democracy and Good Governance
Today, we are witnessing an upsurge in the popularity of democracy and good governance as the primary
means of fulfilling individual aspirations, the articulation of interests and the nurturing of civil society.
Myriad of political systems and cultures now adhere to the fundamental values of respect for human
dignity, justice, equality, participation and accountability which underpin democracy and good
governance. What is more, by their sterling qualities, good governance and democracy are now
universally acknowledged as necessary to rapid growth and development. Invariably, the degree to which
poor countries adhere to these values informs donor-country decisions regarding the grant of aid,
concessionary loans and debt forgiveness.
The fall of military dictatorships in Africa and Latin America and the emergence of new democracies in
so many countries across the world, including our own Ghana, constitute major advances in developing
countries, is more likely to reach her development goals, as reflected in the United Nations Millennium
declaration, by upholding the fundamental principles of democracy - good governance characterized by
transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Besides, the issue of democracy and support for good governance features prominently on the agendas of
both the African Union and ECOWAS as the panacea to the numerous African conflict situations and to
the developmental problems of the continent. Ghana, as a leading member of both organisations should
thus be seen to champion the cause of democracy, good governance, and respect for human rights and the
rule of law at the national, sub-regional and continental levels within the context of the African Peer
Review Mechanism.
Having worked so hard in recent years to reverse the tide of conflict and instability in West Africa and
elsewhere, Ghana has succeeded in establishing a name for herself as a proponent of peace, security and
stability in a very turbulent part of Africa. Her adherence to the principles of democracy, human rights
and the rule of law; and the strides she has made in the area of good governance have also carved for her
the image of a highly democratic African country.
Ghana's diplomacy seeks to maintain and enhance these laudable credentials to enable the country reap all
the benefits that the international community offers to countries with such credentials. It aims at
highlighting Ghana's enviable position as:
the first member of the African Union to subscribe to the African Peer Review Mechanism of
NEPAD and the first to offer itself for review and be accepted for such review;

the country with an enviable track record in the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections; and

the country that has consistently adhered to the democratic principles of good governance, respect
for human rights and the rule of law.

The idea is to present to the outside world the image of a country seeking to enhance the cause of
democracy and good governance in Africa by her own deeds and actions.
Ghana also stands to gain from any policy that forges strategic alliances and friendships between her and
countries that recognize that even though democracy is not a "cure all" for human development and
poverty alleviation, it holds more potential for achieving these goals than any other system of
government. She accordingly seeks to join forces with all like-minded countries to demonstrate the
intrinsic human development value of democracy in order to reap maximum advantage from her
democratic credentials.
Globalization, the movement towards greater interaction, integration and interdependence among people
and organizations across national borders, has become the main driver of change in our time. By its
primary attributes - swift technological progress, especially in the fields of information technology,
transportation and telecommunications; increasing interpenetration of markets, the interdependence of
sovereign states; and the nurturing of civil society at the global level, globalization has so effectively
integrated the world that the destinies of nations are now interwoven and no nation can afford to live in
The foreign policy dimension of globalization is also traceable to a number of other key factors,
the fact that external factors have become critical in determining the success or failure of the nation-
building efforts of developing countries because of globalization; and that on the same account, the
gap between developed and developing countries has widened, thus underscoring the need for a
dynamic and enabling international eco- nomic environment supportive of international

the failure of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to effectively exe- cute its mandate of reducing
barriers to trade, liberalizing services and capital flows, and improving market access to help
developing coun- tries to reap benefits from globalization by way of expanded outlets for their
exports, and increased inflows of foreign capital and technological know-how;

the fact that economic globalisation is the result of policy decisions made by individual countries
which allow global market forces to operate, and the reality that some countries do not have as
much leverage as others in setting the international economic and political agenda due to significant
power imbalances among nations as reflected in international institutions such as the WTO and the
United Nations;

the fact that in spite of globalisation, several of the world's poorest countries remain marginalised
from global trade and investment, their ability to penetrate foreign markets having been severely
minimized by the stiff barriers imposed against their products, as well as uncompetitiveness
engendered by high production costs;

the fact that the integrative effects of globalisation have broadened the range of issues which spill
over the borders of nation states requiring international norm-setting and regulation, and therefore
consultation and formal negotiations on a global or regional scale.
The attacks of 9/11 in the United States and the continued spread of HIV/AIDS have served as potent
reminders of all the risks of globalisation. They have established beyond doubt that the rapid mobility of
people and capital can, in addition to gainful commercial transactions, also result in the spread of disease,
terrorism and organized crime - problems that transcend national boundaries and call for collective
coordinated action at the international level.
Terrorists and extremist organisations, drug cartels and the trafficking of human beings are seriously
affecting human security in developing and developed countries alike. The 9/11 attacks in particular
brought to the attention of the whole world the global reach of extremist organisations and the frightening
consequences of their actions, particularly in respect of personal safety and peace and security in the
Ghana, as a nation, has so far been spared any terrorist actions, but that is no reason for complacency. The
recent haulages of various quantities of cocaine and the arrest of the culprits by her security agencies
exposes the fact that the country is being nurtured by drug traffickers as a transit point for their illegal
trade. The war against this constitutes one of the interests that informs Ghana's foreign policy and engage
the serious attention of her diplomats abroad. The policy in this regard is to conduct Ghana's external
affairs in ways that discourage all of such threats directed against her from abroad. It is accordingly
Ghana's policy to sign, ratify and accede to all international and regional instruments relating to the
prevention and combating of terrorism and organised crime.
The attacks of 9/11 also show that the discontent that arises from poverty, exclusion, inequality, a lack of
opportunity, and other conditions characterizing developing countries can be channelled and targeted
anywhere around the globe. There is therefore a renewed sense of urgency in the international community
of the need to tackle not just the problems themselves, but also the underlying condition that engenders
them - insufficient development.
Ghana has not been left out of this exercise. She fully supports the efforts of the international community
to manage the forces of globalization in ways that would yield benefits to all. She endeavours to take
advantage of the opportunities and minimize the risks that globalization brings. Internal actions such as
strengthening democracy, governance and public institutions to uphold the rule of law and accelerate
development are complemented by a proactive foreign policy that seeks to lift Ghana out of the condition
of poverty.
In today's interdependent world, it is appropriate that countries forge relationships that complement their
efforts at nation-building. What Ghana needs is not just development assistance but, more important, the
opportunity and ability to compete in global markets. Her diplomacy therefore focuses on the attraction of
foreign direct investors who would help her to add value to her produce before export. She also
endeavours to forge partnerships that would enable her and the rest of Africa to obtain fairer
remunerations for their commodities and end their marginalisation in today's globalised economy, which
accounts for the mutually reinforcing problems of poverty, disease, environmental degradation and
political instability.
In this direction, Ghana strives to take full advantage of markets already open to her, especially under
AGOA and the Cotonou Agreement, and to evolve strategies for the effective penetration of other
As an African country and one of the least powerful in the world, Ghana's greatest challenge continues to
be how to influence policy-making in the international arena, and do so in ways that bring benefits to her
people. For citizens to take full advantage of the opportunities of globalization, they need access to high
quality education, healthcare, information and communications technology, social safety nets and
adequate infrastructural development. The role of Government is to secure for citizens affordable access
to these vital services through sound economic and administrative policies at home and the vigorous
pursuit of well structured foreign policy goals abroad.
Multilateral Diplomacy
International Organisations provide the fora for dialogue on global issues that require coordinated action
at the international level. It is at such fora that weaker members of the international community, such as
Ghana, are able to participate in the setting of the international economic, social and political agenda. By
her membership of some of these organisations, Ghana has had the opportunity over the past several years
to influence global decisions that affect her interests, as well as those of West Africa, Africa and the
developing world at large.
Ghana has always recognised the tremendous influence that the big powers, especially the United States
and other Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, exert on the course of events, not only in the
world's trouble sports, but also on the very survival of the less advantage developing world. She
nonetheless maintains the belief that the governments of poor countries or countries facing enormous
economic difficulties need not become pawns in the hands of the world's economic giants or become
incapable of defending the real interest of their people.
Accordingly, she demonstrates in her actions and diplomacy that even under conditions of economic
adversity, the foreign policy of a country can still defend national interests and sovereignty, achieve
independence of action and still command international recognition and respect. At every opportunity on
the international scene Ghana articulates the interests that are common to her and her friends and partners
in the developing world, and maintains her preference of multilateralism in all approaches to world
Ghana and the UN
On 8 March, 1957, just two days after attaining independence, Ghana was admitted into membership of
the United Nations family as the 81st Member State. Her membership of the world body assured her the
guarantees of non-aggression enshrined in the collective security mechanism of the United Nations
Charter. The United Nations also provided a bigger forum and a higher moral ground for advocating and
mobilising international support for Ghana's avowed foreign policy goal of accelerating the
decolonisation process in the rest of Africa.
Ghana is to serve a Two-year [2006-7] term as a Non-Permanent Member of the Security Council of the
United Nations.
Ghana's action within the United Nations system is geared towards the achievement of:
a truly reformed United Nations that is more relevant to the world's peoples in consonance with the
common African position on the proposed reforms, as reflected in the "Ezulwini Consensus";

international support for poverty alleviation and sustainable development, particularly in Africa;

a more effective application of preventive diplomacy to the manage- ment, resolution and
prevention of conflicts, particularly in Africa;

an enabling international environment supportive of national development efforts, in areas such as
international finance, official development assistance, debt relief, market access for enhance trade,
and health improvement by way of efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, tuberculosis and

a comprehensive and credible regime in the area of small arms and light weapons, which, more than
anything else, have decimated population in Africa, our own sub-region and several parts of the
Third World, bearing in mind that the time for an international instrument for the identification and
tracing of small arms and light weapons is now.
Ghana's role in the world body cannot be complete without mention of peacekeeping, which is one of the
most visible aspects of the United Nations' work. Since July 1960, when Ghana first contributed troops to
the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), She has contributed to almost every peacekeeping
mission under the auspices of the United Nations, in demonstration of her commitment to international
peace and security.
It is in the national interest that Ghana continues to enhance this image in the years ahead. Besides actual
participation in field operations, she must seek a more active role in pre-deployment planning, including
the establishment of mandates.
Above all, Ghana will contribute to push for greater cooperation and collaboration between the United
Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to
facilitate the exchange of experiences and to strengthen regional and sub-regional capacity in the area of
conflict prevention, resolution and management.
Membership of the Commonwealth and NAM
The system of mutual consultation and cooperation which the Commonwealth and the NAM offer has
proved beneficial to all member states of the two organisations and contributed immensely to the
fostering of greater international understanding. Ghana's policy within the two organisations has always
been to maximize her own benefits through intensified collaboration and cooperation with other
members. Her strategy is to seek greater economic and technical cooperation with all member countries,
while working with them to enhance international peace and security.
Ghana as Chair of the African Union
The Assembly of the Union, that is the gathering of Heads of State and
Government, at its meeting at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa
on 29th January, 2007, unanimously elected President Kufuor to the chair
of the Union for 2007, Ghana's Jubilee year. This is the second time a
Ghanaian leader has been so honoured. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first
President of Ghana chaired the deliberations of the then continental entity,
the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), at its 3rd Summit which took
place in Accra in 1965.
Just as in 1965 the convening of the OAU Summit in Ghana was a tribute
by our peers in Africa to both the pioneering role our nation played and
the sacrifices our people made in the struggle for the liberation of our
continent from imperialism and the outstanding contribution of our then
leader, Kwame Nkrumah, to the growth of Pan-Africanism, including the creation of the OAU itself, so,
in 2007, the holding in Ghana of the AU Summit, to be chaired by President Kufuor, is a profound
acknowledgement by those same peers of both the historic significance of this year's golden Jubilee
anniversary of Ghanaian independence and freedom, and the beacon of good governance being lit along
the path of Africa's renaissance by our country under the mature, skilful leadership of John Agyekum
During his tenure, the AU Chair is expected to confront the challenges posed by Security and Economic
developments on the African continent. Ghana is also expected to lead the discussions during the Accra
Summit, about the future shape and outlook of the African Union. A clear determination would have to be
made whether to continue operating the entity as an Inter-Governmental body, or move it away from that
concept, closer to the Union that founders like Kwame Nkrumah envisioned it to be.