A host of dignitaries, including former United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Tony Blair, have attended a reception hosted by the British High Commission, in Accra, to commemorate the 96th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, led Ghana’s guests to the event on Tuesday, which also saw the launch of the longest serving monarch’s platinum anniversary on the throne.
Mr Blair hailed the Queen for being an inspiration to many across the UK and the world, while recounting his first encounter with her after his election as Prime Minister before assuming office.
He said the Queen’s graciousness, kindness and strong devotion to duty were examples to everyone.
Praising the deep bilateral ties between Britain and Ghana, Mr Blair said Ghana was a great country, with a future as a global leader.
“Everywhere you go in the world, you will meet Ghanaians, who are full of optimism and hope, and they are smart and intelligent people,” he stated.
“This relation between Britain and Ghana is one we are proud of and one we want to deepen. We believe in this country, we believe in its future, we believe in the people, and we know that Ghana is going to be not just one of the great African countries in the future but one of the great global countries of the future.”
Madam Harriet Thompson, the British High Commissioner, with her husband, Mr Nick Thompson, and officials of the High Commission welcomed the invited guests to the cocktail reception.
The Queen’s Birthday party could not be celebrated over the past two years due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Thompson noted that on the 6th of February 2022, the Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
She said the Queen’s extraordinary reign had seen her travel more widely than any other Monarch, undertaking more than 260 official visits overseers, including two to Ghana in 1961 and 1999.
On the sidelines of the event was an exhibition of Land Rover’s newest Land Rover Defender, which, later this year, would be available as a hybrid vehicle for the first time in Ghana; and the Kofa e-motorbike, which is being powered on battery technology, to help revolutionise Ghana’s automobile industry.
She said with much funding from their partners at the UK Charity, the Shell Foundation, she was delighted to announce almost 10 million cedis turbocharge for Ghana’s e-mobility, battery and charging sector.
“Kofa is one of the organisations already benefiting from this investment and I look forward to seeing many others in the future.”
The High Commissioner expressed gratitude to EY, Mark Brooks Education Limited, Westminster Group, Contracta, Prudential Insurance, B5Plus, DDP Outdoor and Pernod Ricard for their generous support towards the organisation of the event.
Dr Awal, on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Government and People of Ghana, extended his warmest felicitation to the Queen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Government and People of the UK.
He said the relations between Ghana and the UK were steeped in history and dated back to 1867, when the then Gold Coast became a British Colony.
Since March 1957, when Ghana attained independence, the relations between Ghana and the UK had been anchored on their shared history and bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as at the multilateral level.
“Ghana cherishes its relations with the UK and welcomes the various efforts that the two countries are making in deepening cooperation in various fields, such as in health, education, trade, security and defence cooperation,” he said.
“As we gradually emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ghana is hopeful that our two countries will work together to rebuild our respective economies for the mutual benefit of the people of our two countries.”
Other dignitaries at the event include Nana Asante Bediatuo, Secretary to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, and Dr Lawrence Tetteh, an International Evangelist and President of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach.
The rest are members of the British Community in Ghana, the diplomatic corps, MPs, ministers of state, and religious/traditional rulers.