BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MINISTRY
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established in 1957 with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, then leader of Government Business, as the first Foreign Minister. A Permanent Secretary was the head of administration, aided by Principal Assistant Secretaries who headed the various departments.
On 6th March, 1957, when Ghana became independent, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah made a historic foreign policy pronouncement. The concept of free, proud, confident Africa was to dominate the foreign policy of Ghana. The independent state of Ghana had at its disposal, competent diplomats who had been selected and trained in 1955 to implement her foreign policy. Three very senior civil servants were also drafted into the Foreign Ministry to occupy higher posts.
Dr. Nkrumah established an autonomous African Affairs Secretariat under his personal direction primarily to promote and effect his vision of African Unity – a foreign policy issue which normally should have fallen within the purview of the Foreign Ministry. After his overthrow in February 1966, the Secretariat was incorporated into the Ministry.
The Ministry and its diplomatic missions abroad constitute the Ghana Foreign Service charged with the control, direction and coordination of Ghana’s external relations. In addition to diplomatic missions, honorary consulates are established to complement the work of the former in the promotion of investment, trade and tourism as well as the discharge of consular functions in areas with significant Ghanaian communities.
The name of the Ministry has undergone various changes in Ghana’s recent history. Its current name, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, was designated in 2009 to emphasise the importance of regional integration as a foreign policy objective.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is the principal organ of state responsible administratively and executively for the initiation, formulation, co-ordination and management of Ghana’s Foreign Policy.
It comprises the Headquarters, fifty (50) Diplomatic and Five (5) Consulate Generals/Consular Missions as well as three (3) Subvented Organizations, viz, The Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), the National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) and the All African Students Union (AASU).
The Ministry operates at the Headquarters through the Offices of the Hon. Minister and Hon. Deputy Minister as well as the Directorate and Staff of the various Bureaux. At the apex of the Ministry is the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and her Deputies, with their respective secretariats. Next, is the Office of the Chief Director, to whom the following line Bureaux headed by Directors report and whose competences are defined by their geographical, institutional or functional areas of coverage:
- Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
- Finance and Accounts
- Legal and Consular Affairs
- Information and Public Affairs
- Estates and General Services
- Africa and Regional Integration
- Middle East
- Asia and Pacific
- Multilateral Relations
- Accra International Conference Center
- ICT Unit
- Inspectorate and Internal Audit
- Diaspora Unit
Ghana Missions Abroad and Geographical Distribution
Ghana currently maintains fifty-five (55) Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates-General (please see Appendix A). To complement the work of the Missions, fifty-nine (59) Honorary Consulates have also been established. Several of the Missions are also concurrently accredited to countries where Ghana does not have resident diplomatic presence. The global distribution of Ghana’s Diplomatic Missions is as follows:
- Africa - 25
- Europe - 13
- Middle East and Asia - 11
- Americas - 6