All newly appointed Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Ghana have been urged to invent innovative ways of diplomacy as they go to their respective posts, as a way of getting around the novel coronavirus.
This, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is the right way to go, urging them to employ extensive market research to attain this.
"In this COVID era, Missions will be required to innovate in pursuit of economic diplomacy. Embarking on extensive market research on products and services is very crucial. Missions need to develop marketing plans indicating the focal areas, the objectives, the strategies employed, and the outcome of their activities.
"Missions must adopt innovative and cost-effective strategies such as communication with wholesalers, press releases, publishing articles in business papers, granting interviews to reputable media houses etc. all in a bid to promote Ghanaian goods and services," she said.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey made this known during the Opening Ceremony of the Orientation Program for Ambassadors and High Commissioners-designate, in Accra.
She explained that now more than ever, there is the need for the appointees to work in collaboration with the right stakeholders in achieving their targets and meeting their goals.
"This crucial task will require inter-sectoral collaboration both home and abroad. It is, therefore, imperative that you leverage your current networks and also work towards expanding it in your respective host countries," she stressed.
Also, she reminded them of the peculiar challenges that face the missionary work they have been assigned, encouraging them to still persist amid all of that.
"I wish to stress that the pursuit of Economic Diplomacy is not without challenges. Indeed, there have been times when Ghanaian indigenous companies have left Missions in the lurch by failing to meet demand abroad, saddling Heads of Mission and their officers with the awkward and embarrassing responsibility of providing excuses in their defense.
"Whilst this is quite unfortunate, it should by no means deter you from promoting Ghanaian goods and services, and where possible, seeking joint ventures with companies of similar scale to boost knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices," she said.
However, she urged them to manage the monetary allocations to them, seeing that the times are difficult for all governments and economies of the world, while still pursuing excellence.
"The Ministry, like any other Foreign Ministry, requires considerable amounts of foreign exchange to run smoothly. Sadly, our share of the national budget is hard enough for us to operate optimally. Accordingly, due to financial constraints, the Ministry is unable to undertake some of its planned programmes, projects, and activities in a given year.
"Whilst this is regrettable, I encourage you to be prudent in the management of the limited resources at your disposal to ensure maximum value-for-money on all transactions even as the Ministry continues to push for the relevant releases to support Missions in their work," she admonished them.