Ghana/US relations should be a progressive agenda – President

Accra- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Monday said Ghana looked forward to a new, positive and progressive agenda with the United States.

That agenda, he said, should be one where American and Ghanaian enterprises forged partnerships that would promote the economic relations of both countries.

The President made the call when he addressed a delegation of United States Congressional Black Caucus, led by Mrs Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.

The Caucus’ three-day historic visit to Ghana, a result of months of deliberations between the Government and the US Congress, coincides with the ‘Year of Return’ celebrations that marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in America.

The visit is also part of Government’s push to get the wider Diaspora community to take part in the ‘Year of Return’ celebration.

President Akufo-Addo told the delegation that both countries, which shared longstanding history dating back four centuries, could benefit from a more systematic approach to sharing ideas, knowledge, and best practices in order to address the challenges that confronted them.

“We are looking for a more progressive agenda between us, an agenda where Ghana and American enterprises would meet together to promote the economic relations between our two countries, whereby investments by American companies and Ghanaian companies would become the order of the day to lessen the generosity of American tax payers. We think it would be a healthier and productive relationship,” the President said.

President Akufo-Addo told Mrs Pelosi, who is the first US Speaker from the House of Representatives to visit Ghana, that “we are very comforted by this visit”, because it is very significant that you are in Ghana as we’ve proclaimed this year as the year of return.where our relations with America which has today blossomed into something positive and concrete.

We see this year as a year in which we can renew our relationship with the United States and at the same time make some comments about the position of black people in the world, about the relationship between our two countries over these last 400 years, our determination never to get into that situation again, and use the occasion to welcome those who were taken from our shores to make lives elsewhere back to Ghana.

The President said it was reassuring the solidarity shown by the leadership of the Black Caucus of Congress with the visit to Ghana, saying, the work that they do within the American political system is something that we all follow with great keenness.

It is an honour for us to see many of the leaders, these names that we’ve all heard of.and in the last couple of years, we have had high profile visits from the United States, including First Lady Melania Trump, among others have all been here, all building up the relationship we keep wanting to strengthen and renew, he said.

Ghana, President Akufo-Addo told the delegation, prided itself very much of being a functioning democracy, with the Ghanaian people determined and fully committed to a future of democratic engagement on the principles of democratic accountability, respect for human rights and rule of law.

He pointed out that there were many aspects of the American political systems that we are imitating here and are inspired by.

“The relationship with the United States of America is multifaceted, which began with the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade to a shared agenda of democratic engagement and a desire to build a world where respect for human beings and human rights are the order of international engagements”

The President acknowledge the generosity of the US Government to Ghana in the areas of education, defence, health, support for our electoral systems, saying, “the American people have played key role in our lives.”

He was optimistic that the relations between both countries would transcend that of aid giving, to one of mutual interest based on fair trade to transform Ghana’s economy and reduce poverty.

Mrs Pelosi commended Ghana for its democratic credentials and lauded the country’s role in being an exporter of peacekeepers around the world.

“We complement you on the strength of Ghana being exporters of security and peacekeepers on the continent and elsewhere.

“Ghana’s role in global security is very commendable…. Militarily, politically, culturally, we salute Ghana,” she said.

On his part, Mr Jim Clyburn, the Majority Chief Whip of the US House of Representatives and a member of the Black Caucus, said that future interaction between America and Ghana ought to be based on trade rather than aid.

“It is very simple. We believe very strongly that if we are not careful, the continent will find themselves in the 21st century of sheer cropping, work hard all day and find at the end of the week or month that you’re much more in debt than ever.

“The future of our two nations must have mutual respect… and we must ensure that that respect is recognized the world over,” he said.

“We look to Ghana with so much admiration and respect. We appreciate the relationship and we would want to go forward in such a way that all of us would be proud,” Mr Clyburn added.

Mrs Pelosi would address the Parliament of Ghana on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, as part of her visit to the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency