Op-ed by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin on HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne's visit to Ghana.
I am very pleased to announce that Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, daughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will visit Ghana from this evening as part of a two-country visit to West Africa that also encompasses Sierra Leone.
This visit, The Princess Royal’s third to Ghana, will celebrate the unique friendship between the UK and Ghana as it marks its 60th Anniversary of Independence. Coming on the back of a series of high-profile visits by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana, Adam Afriyie MP, since Ghana’s seventh successful elections last December, the visit will reinforce the strength and depth of bilateral relations and the UK’s “Global Britain” drive to reinvigorate the Commonwealth.
Ghana is marking its 60th Anniversary with themes of reflection, celebration, challenge and togetherness. Its partnership with the UK embodies just that – built on deep social and cultural ties and a shared future. It is therefore fitting that HRH The Princess Royal’s visit will mix tradition and modernity as she meets His Excellency The President, Nana Akufo-Addo at Flagstaff House, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II at the Royal Palace in Kumasi and hosts a reception with guests from different walks of Ghanaian society, including His Excellency former President Kufuor.
HRH The Princess Royal will undertake a wide-ranging programme that builds on her previous visits in 1998 and 2011. It focuses on empowering women who act as role models for others, exploring the importance of support for girls, female education and entrepreneurs in delivering Ghana’s future. She will pay a visit to an award winning enterprise, benefiting from a DFID programme called ENGINE, which has so far supported 49 micro and small enterprises across a range of sectors, from indigenous cosmetic products (such as Black Soap and Shea Butter) to environmentally friendly and sustainable bamboo bicycles frames. HRH The Princess Royal will experience first-hand the challenges micro and small enterprises face but also what is possible with the right determination and help.
HRH The Princess Royal will meet inspirational young girls and women from the Girls Education Challenge Fund who are receiving support from the UK – through the Varkey Foundation - to further their education via an innovative distance learning programme that is bringing quality education to thousands of people in remote, rural areas. The Varkey Foundation is a non-profit organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world. Similarly, HRH The Princess Royal will meet young girls and women being supported by Camfed - a UK funded, non-profit organisation that supports marginalised girls to go to school and empower young women to step up as leaders of change.
HRH The Princess Royal will also commemorate links between the UK’s and Ghana’s Armed Forces, partaking in a ceremony at Christanborg War Memorial alongside the Minister of Defence. She will also meet with senior members of the Ghanaian military, veterans, cadets and successful women working in the Ghana armed forces. The visit will offer an opportunity to celebrate the range of people-to-people links that underpin the bilateral relationship, including volunteers as HRH The Princess Royal visits the local operations of some of the charities and Non-Governmental Organisations of which she is patron, which include VSO International and Opportunity International UK. And she will meet with a number of UK volunteers including the alumni of UK sponsored scholarship programmes, Chevening, Commonwealth and the Queens Young Leaders. All of whom make a significant contribution to the bilateral relationship.
The UK and Ghana already enjoy a special relationship, a unique friendship steeped in history and built upon deep social, cultural and inter-personal links. And both nations are adapting quickly to the shared challenges ahead of them. HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to Ghana comes at an exciting period for the UK/Ghana relationship. As we reflect on the past 60 years, HRH The Princess Royal’s visit is a fantastic opportunity for us to reinforce the strength and depth of bilateral relations and look forward to the next 60 years.