The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said there is a need for citizens to be fluent in English and French to enable them to communicate and integrate well with the dynamic populations of the world.
“It is worth noting that Ghana is surrounded by three Francophone countries, and the adoption of French as a second working language will contribute to improvement in sub-regional integration, peace and development,” she said.
In line with that, she said Ghana and France had signed a language pact, while the former had also been admitted into Francophonie as an associate member.
Ms Botchwey was speaking at a programme to mark French Volunteering Day (FVD) in Accra, yesterday.
The event was on the theme: “Cross-mobility, reciprocity, for a balanced partnership”.
Every year in October, France Volontaires, the French platform for International Exchange et Solidarity Volunteering, through its 24 National Representations around the world, organizes the French Volunteering Day to promote volunteering missions for development and solidarity in various fields around the world, as well as brings together actors of volunteerism — hosting and sending organizations, partners, stakeholders, national institutions and volunteers.
Ghana is the first African country to sign a cooperation agreement with France dedicated to volunteering in 2019, and this year’s celebration marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of the French Volunteering Centre in Ghana.
Since France Volontaires was set up in the country, 160 volunteers have completed their mission as part of the many partnerships, while 15 Ghanaian volunteers have taken part in a voluntary mission in France.
Role of volunteerism
Ms. Botchwey further said that the government recognized the pivotal role of volunteerism in achieving national development goals and had, therefore, taken concrete steps to promote and support volunteer initiatives across the country.
She said youth-oriented government institutions, in particular, had played a vital role in driving that agenda leading to the youth embracing the spirit of volunteerism with unwavering enthusiasm.
On the relationship between Ghana and France, the minister said the friendship had flourished and transcended diverse spheres of cooperation and partnerships, adding that one such collaboration was where the two countries had agreed to foster bilateral cooperation through volunteerism.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Jules-Armand Anianbossou, also highlighted the importance of volunteers and said that they worked in various areas around sustainable development goals such as education and equality between men and women.
He described volunteerism as a means of mobilizing the youth to engage in useful ventures.
For his part, the Director of the Network and Volunteer Programmes of French Volontaires, Thomas Cosse, said Ghanaian volunteers acquired new skills and also brought their vision of the world and knowledge to France, as well as promoted Ghana and made friends.
He said his outfit would strengthen collaboration with the National Youth Authority and the Ghana National Service Scheme on public policy on volunteering, among other initiatives.