Foreign Secretary of the the United Kingdom (UK), Boris Johnson, has said that democracy continues to be strengthened in West Africa – citing successful handover of power in The Gambia and Ghana.
Boris Johnson is scheduled to meet leaders of both countries on a visit between February 14 – 15, 2017. He is expected to hold bilateral talks with both presidents with the view to ‘‘discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing each country.
A foreign office statement quoted him as saying, ‘‘I’m delighted to be the first Foreign Secretary to visit Gambia this week and delighted to have a chance to meet the newly elected President Barrow and President Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Their elections highlight the continuing strengthening of democracy in West Africa.
I am also very pleased that Gambia wants to rejoin the Commonwealth and we will ensure this happens in the coming months. The strength of our partnerships show that Global Britain is growing in influence and activity around the world.
‘‘I am also very pleased that Gambia wants to rejoin the Commonwealth and we will ensure this happens in the coming months. The strength of our partnerships show that Global Britain is growing in influence and activity around the world,’‘ he added.
He arrives in The Gambia on Tuesday February 14, the return of The Gambia to the Commonwealth is expected to be formally announced during his visit. He will also visit the UK-funded Medical Research Council and speak to stakeholders in the tourism industry.
In Ghana he will after talks with government, undertake engagements with business leaders and entrepreneurs plus he will meet with ‘‘Rising Black Stars’‘ highlighting the extensive cultural ties between the UK and Ghana.
The Gambia went to the polls in December 2016, a process which led to the election of Adama Barrow. The former leader, Yahya Jammeh disputed the results leading to tension but Barrow took office in Senegal and Jammeh flew out into exile before Barrow returned to Banjul to resume work.
Ghana on the other hand voted out the then incumbent John Dramani Mahama with Akufo-Addo, winning the presidency on his third attempt. It was Ghana’s seventh election since 1992 and its third peaceful transfer of power from an incumbent to the opposition.