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Foreign Policy Leaders Debate – Ghana Speaks Out

Agnes Ageypong

Agnes Agyepong is working in Ghana on the Give Your Vote campaign; she writes here about the responses to last night’s Leaders Debate in Ghana.

Sitting huddled around the Internet is how I find myself listening to the UK election candidate leaders TV debate. Myself with a dozen plus Ghanaians listening attentively to the issues being discussed in the second round of debates that focus on foreign policy. The burrowed eyebrows and serious expressions, the rolling eyes and deafening silence illustrate how serious these Ghanaians take the issues being discussed.

They know more than anyone that the policies being outlined will if implemented have a profound impact on their lives, after all developing countries will be at the forefront of what is being discussed tonight.

Gordon Brown remarks that Europe should work together with America and the G20 to tackle climate change, but no mention of working with Africa or other developing countries like Bangladesh whom are at the forefront of climate change. This lack of regard for developing countries characterizes the mood of the debate. It becomes even more obvious how big the democratic deficiency is on the global level.

Kojo Prah Annan remarks:

“David Cameron is the same person who wants to cut immigration and tighten borders yet UK citizens have literally a free reign to settle or ’emigrate’ to developing countries. Which African can enter into Europe and walk freely before collecting a visa, yet UK citizens can pick up their visa’s at most airports when they’ve arrived in the country but I do not hear them complain about that.”

Francis, another Ghanaian spectator adds in response to the expenses and corruption discussions that,

“They should be able to fight the corruption in their country before coming to help us because corruption in the UK directly impacts us here in Africa. For example, Vodafone and Mabey and Johnson are cases that highlight how UK corruption is spilling over onto our doorsteps.”

For these Ghanaians the debate fell short on giving tangible solutions to the problems that they are directly experiencing as a result of UK foreign policy. Issues surrounding trade, climate change, environmental justice and British companies exploiting Africa are still issues they feel were neglected in the leaders TV debate.

The debate may prove a PR success for the polls, but the real people at the forefront of British foreign policy still need answers.

By Agnes Agyepong

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2 Responses

  1. As an occasional visitor to the continent, I have to agree there was very little last night for the African listener, regardless of their country of origin.

    On your point of corruption, the main driving force recently has been coming from the USA. If they wish to trade with America, companies of all nationalities are having to conform with very strict US anti-corruption legislation, regardless of where else they are trading in the world. Britain has recently added similar laws to the books.

    It is not a case that corruption should be sorted out in one place then directed to another. It has to be challenged wherever it is found. With global companies, it will take a global approach that has to be supported by every honest person.

  2. As a black Britain I am confused – this is British election aimed at a British electorate.

    Though corruption and climate change are naturally important, they have to be seen in context of british audience, even a Black British audience. Immigration – is a hot topic in the UK whether from Europe or further afield and a concern to the older more settled communities.

    Why would three leaders address a foreign audience? Put it in context, though we are important in marginal urban seats but the census shows the Black Britishpopulation only about 3% of the population – I as an individual align what effects me on a daily basis and my family, to be frank not what is happening in Africa.

    Should African leaders therefore appeal to British audiences in the same manner.

    To be frank when it comes to immigration due to the different in standrad of living – if there was an open bordr policy – this very small island would be over crowded very quickly…I would not see a rush of Brits the other way…even us Black British head to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or Canada if we can!!!!

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