This week the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, candidate for Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs is conducting a tour of eight Commonwealth African member nations. During her visit Johnson Smith will meet with government officials from Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana to discuss her vision for the future of the Commonwealth and the critical importance of the Africa-Caribbean cohort in the family of Commonwealth Nations.
Minister Johnson Smith is inspired by the unique relationship that characterizes the Commonwealth. She believes in the Commonwealth Charter as a framework to promote co-operation among member states, fostering friendship, fraternal dialogue and mutual respect.
Her transformative vision for the Commonwealth includes a renewed commitment to food security, delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, advocacy for small states, gender and youth empowerment, good governance, and technical cooperation. Minster Johnson Smith is committed to advancing collaboration, building consensus and promoting peace and prosperity within the Commonwealth.
“African nations play a central role in determining the future of our Commonwealth and ensuring its shared values extend well into the future,” said Minister Johnson Smith. “I look forward to meeting with members of our Commonwealth family in Africa, to discussing the shared aspirations we have for development and for building a Commonwealth that will deliver on these aspirations for its member states and our people.”
Minister Johnson Smith announced her candidature for Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations in April. This June, Commonwealth Member States will select their next Secretary-General when they convene in Rwanda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Jamaica’s first female Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister Johnson Smith serves as Leader of Government Business in Jamaica’s Senate. She is the Chair of the Cabinet’s International Relations Sub-Committee, a member of the Economic Growth and Job Creation Sub-Committee and is also a member of Jamaica’s National Security Council. Minister Johnson Smith’s leadership has successfully increased Jamaica’s international influence and visibility through roles that include chairing the CARIFORUM group and opening of discussions with the UK regarding post-Brexit trade arrangements.
She has served as President of the ACP Council of Ministers, presiding over the process that secured the negotiating mandate of the ACP for a post-Cotonou Agreement with the EU. In her first term as Foreign Minister, Johnson Smith was appointed as President of Council of the International Seabed Authority. She also chaired the CARICOM Council of Foreign Ministers and the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development, and was the first Jamaican Foreign Minister to be invited to G7 and G20 meetings.