On 8 July, during her official visit to the Republic of Ghana, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the President of the Republic H.E. Mr John Dramani Mahama.
The President highlighted that over the years UNESCO has been a friend of the developing world, providing technical cooperation, policy advice and sharing best practices. Referring to Ghana’s significant economic growth over the past few years, the President underscored the need to sustain it through broader access to quality education, improving gender parity, reducing mortality as well as alleviating hunger. He underlined one of the major challenges facing the country, to integrate young people in the labour market. To address this challenge, he called for UNESCO’s support to raise the significance and profile of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
President Mahama also emphasized on the need of UNESCO’s assistance to improve access to secondary education, promoting STI and mathematics education, as well as sustainable cultural tourism at World heritage sites related to the Slave Trade.
The Director-General commended Ghana for its achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), with particular reference to MDG 1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and 2 (achieve universal primary education) and reiterated UNESCO’s readiness to provide technical assistance to the country.
The Director-General underlined Ghana’s strengths in its stable democracy and inclusive development. She committed UNESCO to support the country in addressing the challenges highlighted by the President, especially to accompany the country’s efforts to develop human resources and capacity. The Director-General recalled also UNESCO’s advocacy efforts to put culture on the global agenda as an enabler of development.
On the same day, Mrs Irina Bokova met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Hanna Tetteh, and the Minister of Education, H.E. Mrs Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang. They exchanged views about the sub-regional situation, UNESCO’s current financial situation and its impact on the Organization’s operation and particularly on its work in Ghana. During the meeting, both Ministers highlighted the Organization’s valuable work.
The Director-General also attended a meeting with line Ministries related to UNESCO’s mandate, chaired by the Minister of Education. The Minister warmly welcomed the Director-General as the first woman to lead the Organisation since its creation. She briefly presented the situation of the education sector in Ghana. Due to the importance of TVET for youth mobilization and social inclusion, she called for rebranding technical and vocational education and appealed for the support of media and other partners. With regard to girls education, the Minister emphasized the need to strengthen the teaching of science and technology and mathematics. The meeting also reviewed cooperation between UNESCO and Ghana in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources through the network of Biosphere Reserves, bioethics, social transformation, gender equality and cultural heritage and industries.
Throughout her official visit to Ghana, the Director-General is accompanied by the Minister of Education, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Ghana to UNESCO, H.E. Mrs Genevieve Delali Tsegah, and the Secretary-General of Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, Mrs Charity Amamoo.