By Benjamin Mensah
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur on Thursday said Ghana is committed to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a way that enables the Region to make the greatest developmental progress. He explained that recent global developments underline the belief that the agenda for this Century must focus on regional integration.
The Vice President registered Ghana’s commitment in a solidarity message on behalf of the Government and People of Ghana at a day’s summit level conference in Abuja, Nigeria, as part of activities marking the centenary celebration of amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates of Nigeria.
The summit was on”Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century Africa.”
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur is leading Ghana’s delegation, which includes Mr Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, to the celebration, being held on the theme “One Nigeria: Great Promise”.
The summit has attracted scores of leaders from African countries, as well as the French President, Francois Hollande, Representatives of the British Prime Minister David Cameroun, and US President Barrack Obama, the United Nations Secretary General and the Prime Minister of Israel Benyamin Netaynahu; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President of the European Union and Former African Union Secretary General Dr Salim Ahmed Salim.
The Abuja International Conference Centre, where the summit is being held has been adorned with centenary paraphernalia in the state colours of green and white.
Celebrants are in various kinds of customised clothes with the national logo of Nigeria and summit themes embossed on them.
However, there is heavy security presence in apparent reaction to the recent terrorist activity of the Boko Haram, which claimed the lives of 43 school pupils in the Northern Nigerian town of Yobe.
The Vice President congratulated the Nigerian compatriots for their endeavours in building a nation where individual freedom, peace, unity and justice prevails.
He however cautioned perpetrators of violence that cowardly attacks on defenceless villages and schools will not succeed in destroying the unity of Nigeria and the African Continent.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said economically, the ECOWAS sub-region has registered some of the fastest global growth rates during the last few years.
Also, Governments are implementing social programmes that offer health insurance, poverty alleviation and support for the vulnerable in society.
“Indeed our history has many examples of conflict and human tragedies. Today, however it is not all doom and gloom. We are witnessing positive developments in human security.”
The Vice President said the definition of “Human Security” is “freedom from fear”, freedom from want” and “freedom to live in dignity” and “therefore hunger, disease, threats to the environment, threats to livelihoods, and violence, are considered to be human security issues.
“Therefore human security is food security, human security is job security, human security is health security, and human security is security for our people to go about their legitimate activities without interference.”
“In the absence of these fundamental forms of human security, peace and development cannot be guaranteed.”
Vice President Amissah-Arthur noted that Ghana and Nigeria have more or less followed similar growth paths, and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for pursuing “Transformational Agenda” for positive changes in many spheres of life in Nigeria.
The Vice President said “Like Nigeria, Ghana has over the last five years been implementing, our equivalent of the Transformational Agenda known as the “Better Ghana Agenda”.
“The Agenda has four pillars namely: “Putting people first, Building a strong economy, Expanding infrastructure, and providing Transparent and Accountable Governance”.
He said Ghana has also experienced rapid development; improving GDP growth rates have contributed to significant reductions in the level of poverty.
The Vice President commended the rivalry, especially the intense competitiveness in football and said it brings out the best performance.
He however declined to comment on Nigeria’s expectations, but predicted an-all African affair with Ghana meeting Nigeria at this year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, with Ghana as the ultimate winner.
“All I can say is that the small country always beats the big neighbour to the east,” the Vice President said.