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US president lauds Ghana

Published date:
Tuesday, 16 September 2008

US President George Bush on Monday accorded President J.A. Kufuor a warm welcome to the White House, saying Ghana was showing Africa that democracy was not a challenge to be feared but a sure path to prosperity and peace.

At an impressive ceremony to usher President Kufuor and his wife, Madam Theresa, to the White House in Washington, President Bush said, "Ghana and America stand as one in our work to promote free elections.

Ghana is now in the middle of a lively election season, marked by spirited debate and close-fought contests - which sounds kind of familiar."

"Whatever the outcome, Ghana is showing Africa that democracy is not a challenge to be feared but a sure path to prosperity and peace," he noted.

"President Kufuor, your country is a model of entrepreneurship and democracy and peace on the continent of Africa," President Bush added.

President Kufuor is in the United States for a three-day State visit at the invitation of the US government.

He is one of the few world leaders to have been invited by the US President for a State visit on two occasions during his tenure.

Highlights of the visit include a state arrival ceremony, a press briefing, a State Dinner to be hosted by President Bush and his wife Laura and a host of meetings with American politicians and business leaders.

The visit is intended to deepen Ghana-US relations and partnership, as well as strengthen the commitment of the two countries to promote peace and prosperity in Africa and the rest of the world.

President Bush extolled the leadership of President Kufuor and Ghana's democratic credentials, saying, "Ghana's leaders are governing justly, fighting corruption and investing in their people. And America is proud to support these efforts through our Millennium Challenge Compact. Together, we work with Ghana to improve agriculture and infrastructure, support development in Ghana's rural areas and bring prosperity to Ghana's people."

The US President examined other areas where Ghana and the US had worked together to promote trade and development in the two countries.

''We have worked to promote free trade as a powerful engine of prosperity for both our countries. Last year, trade between Ghana and the US was valued at more than $600 million - an increase of more than 55 per cent since President Kufuor and I took office," he said.

On illiteracy and ignorance, President Bush said "through the Africa Education Initiative, Ghana and the US have partnered to provide thousands of scholarships for girls. We've trained teachers. And across that important country schools are being renovated, textbooks are being distributed and Ghana's children are looking toward a brighter future".

In addition to providing educational opportunities, the US President said Ghana and the US were also working together to free people from disease.

Furthermore, President Bush said Ghana and America were standing together to promote peace in parts of the world.

"Ghana is a vital partner in our efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur. Ghana has more than 3,000 peacekeepers serving around the world - from Liberia and the Congo to llisovo and Kosovo and Georgia," he said.

Referring to the strong bonds of friendship between the US and Ghana, President Bush said the confidence which was expressed by the then US President Eisenhower at the time of Ghana's independence that the two countries would stand as one in safeguarding the bonds of friendship between them was well-placed.

"Half a century later, we see that President Eisenhower's confidence was well placed. Today, Ghana and America are still bound by our love for liberty and we stand as one in our efforts to safeguard that freedom," President Bush said.

"Mr President, I congratulate you on the progress Ghana has made under your strong leadership. And on behalf of the American people, Laura and I are honoured to welcome you and Mrs Kufuor to the United States. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our great nations," he stated.

Responding, President Kufuor recalled the visit of President Bush and his wife to Ghana in February 2008 and said it had been significant in lifting the already cordial ties between the two countries to an even higher level.

Expressing appreciation to the US government for the assistance given to Ghana so far, President Kufuor said the US government's continued support for Ghana's development efforts was exemplified in many aspects of its national life.

Specific acts of US assistance, he said, included the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) which had enabled Ghanaian businesses to export duty-free and quota-free, 6,400 commodities to the US market; the Africa Growth Competitiveness Initiative (AGCl) which had supported Ghana's capacity development in international trade.

Others, he said, were the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), by which the US government had granted Ghana $547 million to modernize and commercialise agriculture, and the African Education Initiative (AEI), which Mrs Bush was sponsoring by donating books and other educational resources to promote literacy among the youth of the country.

President Kufuor expressed the hope that Ghana-US partnership would be strengthened in the years ahead and that it would be augmented by increased US private sector involvement in the economy of Ghana, including the emerging oil sector.

Source: Daily Graphic

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