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The Presence of Ghanaian President and Asantehene at King Charles III Coronation Strengthens Ghana-UK Relations

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The coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023, had high-profile African personalities in attendance, including Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. The presence of these two personalities enhanced the relationship between Ghana and Britain, marking a new dawn for the two countries, particularly in the context of the Commonwealth agenda.

Ghana was the first black African country south of the Sahara to gain independence from British colonial rule in 1957, which inspired other African countries to follow suit. Since then, Ghana and Britain have maintained a strong partnership in political diplomacy, peace and security, education, health, trade and investment, and cultural exchanges.

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The coronation of King Charles III marked a significant moment for the relationship between Britain and Ghana, as it advanced the shared ambition for the Commonwealth and maintained closer ties. King Charles had visited Ghana before, inaugurating the Prince of Wales Park at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in 2018, one of his five-decade-long campaign projects as he champions the cause for a greener world.

Environmentalism was the cornerstone of Charles’ public identity as Prince of Wales. He has given speeches on air pollution, plastic waste, oil spills, and industrial agriculture and convened meetings with world leaders to discuss these threats. In 2021, the UK and Ghana signed an agreement, boosting trade worth £1.2 billion. With tariff-free access to the UK, Ghanaian businesses can scale up operations, support innovation in markets, and create jobs. Ghana’s largest exports to the UK include cocoa, fish, fruits, mineral fuels, and oil, while its top imports include clothing/textiles, machinery, mechanical appliances, and chemical products from the UK.

The mantle now falls on King Charles III, and Ghana and Africa as a whole look forward to leveraging the existing partnership to overcome development challenges. A report by the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee argued that the UK should seek a stronger partnership with sub-Saharan Africa.

It made recommendations, including setting out clear priorities for engagement with the region, coordinating government departments, and communication of the UK’s approach and the Integrated Review. It also highlighted Africa’s regional organizations, such as the African Union and the Commonwealth, sub-Saharan Africa’s economic development, peace, and security, human rights, democracy, and governance.

King Charles III became king of the United Kingdom on September 8, 2022, on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II. He holds the record for being Britain’s longest-serving monarch-in-waiting, having waited 73 years to ascend the throne. Charles holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, and spent a term at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, learning Welsh in preparation for his investiture as the Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969.

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