President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Sorbonne, in Paris, France.
Sorbonne University, prestigious and globally acclaimed, conferred the award on President Akufo-Addo on Monday for his commitment to entrenching the values of democracy in Ghana, fostering peace in the West Africa region, implementing the Free SHS policy, as well as the fight against COVID-19.
This is the fourth Honorary Doctorate Degree to be conferred on the President – the others are the Honorary Doctor of Law Degree in May 2016, Fort Hare University, South Africa; the Honorary doctor of humane letters degree, in December 2017, University of Liberia; and in May 2021, from the University of Cape Coast.
President Akufo-Addo joins highly distinguished statesmen such as Pablo Picasso, Kofi Annan, Amartya Sen and Nelson Mandela, as persons who were conferred Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Sorbonne University.
In his acceptance speech, the President spoke on issues on climate change, equity and justice, reform of the multilateral system and the importance of strengthening international cooperation amongst nations.
On climate change, President Akufo-Addo recounted events at the just-ended Summit for financing Africa’s adaptation to climate change in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he reemphasized that Africa contributed only 4% to the global greenhouse gas emissions, but felt the consequences most heavily.
As paltry as it was, while the G20 countries were responsible for 80% of emissions, Africa left Rotterdam with a pledge of $55 million, outside of the African Development Bank mobilising USD12.5 billion.
“You heard it right” President Akufo-Addo stated, adding: “I am talking about millions. 55 million for 54 countries, that makes an almost round count. 1 million each.”
The President said it was just so that the international community would have shown greater solidarity with the African continent, which was suffering the consequences of problems that she did not create, but that was not the case.
He said Africa would be the continent that the future of the world would largely be played as its 1.3 billion citizens which represented 18 per cent of the world’s population would balloon to some 2.5 billion by 2050.
African leaders, President Akufo-Addo indicated, however, have a duty to build, together with their respective populations, fairer societies, where women and children, but also the most fragile, are treated appropriately.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s implementation of the free Senior High School Policy was symbolic as education was key to the development of the country.
He reiterated Ghana’s position as a beacon of democracy and stability in contemporary Africa and condemned the unacceptable aggression of Ukraine by Russia, which has had dramatic consequences on the African economies and populations.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD