Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has led a Ghanaian delegation to the 52nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) African Region Conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The Conference, which was officially opened on Monday, June 6, is on the theme: “The Role of African Parliaments in Building an Inclusive Society to Counter Growing Insecurity in Africa.”

The seven-day conference is slated for June 3 to 9, at the Freetown International Conference Center, at the Bintumani Hotel.

Hosted by the Parliament of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the CPA African Region secretariat, it would be a platform to explore and share ideas as well as perspectives on how to strengthen democracy in Africa.

Among the high-level Ghanaian delegation are Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, and the Minority counterpart, Haruna Iddrisu.

By rules 15 (1) and (2) of the Regional Conference Preparation Guidelines, the CPA’s approved party representation formula for parliamentary representatives for Ghana’s delegation is Mr. Cyril Nsiah, Clerk to Ghana’s Parliament; Mr Richard Acheampong, Head of the Speaker’s Secretariat; Mr. Camillo Pwamang, a CPA Secretariat Member; Madam Sheba Osei, Head, Parliamentary Relations.

The others are; Madam Akua Osei-Somuah, Senior Assistant Clerk and Mr. Mahama Shaibu, a representative from the Speaker’s Office.

While Mr. Bagbin is expected to address the session on ways to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Ghana and the African sub-region, the Ghanaian delegation would also participate in the plenary and side meetings of various committees.

These would include the Executive Committee, Commonwealth Women’s Parliament Steering Sub Committee, Constitutional Amendment Ad hoc Sub Committee, Regional Representatives Sub Committee, and Programme Planning and Finance Sub Committee.

They would likewise represent Ghana’s interests, inclusive of Parliament, in the Conference and related meetings.

The conference had brought together 400 delegates, observers and other participants from the CPA African Region’s member states.

These include Ghana, Botswana, Rwanda, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Eswatini, Cameroon, Namibia, Malawi and Tanzania.

It also has 16 sub-branches, nine from South Africa and seven from Nigeria.

Among the topics, the Ghanaian delegation would be expected to deliberate on are; the Visibility of Parliament: Efforts of Parliament to allocate resources to carry out its constitutional mandate; Evolving and Adapting New Strategies for Increased Women’s Participation in Politics; African Parliaments’ Role in Accelerating Intra-African Trade; Coordination and cooperation at the regional and international levels to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics and Drawing lessons from COVID-19 to build foundations for future pandemics.

The African Region of the CPA comprises 63 national and subnational legislatures with a mission to promote and protect the interests and perspectives of African Parliaments and countries, within the Commonwealth and beyond.

It also aims to promote gender equality, the emancipation of women, respect for human rights, freedoms, democracy and good governance.

The CPA was founded in 1911 at a meeting of Heads of Government at Westminster Hall as the then-Empire Parliamentary Association, and its affairs were administered by the United Kingdom (UK) Branch.

The original members were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK.