Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has revealed that plans are underway to upgrade the Ghanaian biometric passports to chip-embedded passports with enhanced security features.

She said this will allow Ghanaians to travel to other countries around the world with ease while meeting international standards.

She was addressing law students at GIMPA during their 62nd academic law week celebration and third SRC lecture.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Diplomacy and Public Service’, the Foreign Affairs Minister said Ghana currently has 13 passport application centres.

She noted preparations are ongoing to establish applications centres in all regional capitals to help reduce the travel time for Ghanaians as they seek to secure passports from Accra.

“In our missions, the issuance of passports, visas, processing of dual citizenship as well as other travel documents enable our compatriots to pursue their dreams, improve their well-being and by extension contribute to national development.

“Our staff at our missions abroad also offer welfare services to our compatriots to ensure that they are not taken undue advantage of, while they are in foreign lands,” she noted.

The Foreign Affairs Minister hinted that efforts are also underway to migrate from the use of visa stickers to E-Visa by the close of this year.

She indicated that all these are being done to build important bridges with other countries to enhance Ghana’s international image.

She urged the law students to specialise in International Law and Treaties, which will afford them the opportunities to represent Ghana by serving on international tribunals and treaty bodies.

The students were also urged to learn new languages such as French, Chinese, and other international languages that will give them better opportunities to work with international bodies.

“There are so many employment opportunities within the ECOWAS region and other international bodies, but Ghanaians are unable to apply due to language barrier, and we need to bridge that gap by learning other languages as our second language aside from the English language,” she stressed.