Sunday, 18 November 2018
Americans celebrate 242nd anniversary

Americans celebrate 242nd anniversary

The Embassy of the United State of America in Accra on Wednesday, held a colourful ceremony with live band music and fireworks to mark its 242nd Independence anniversary.

It was also used as a farewell platform for its Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert Porter Jackson, who is bringing his diplomatic career to an end.

The ceremony was attended by high profile dignitaries including Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, Mr Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce and several Ministers of State, Parliamentarians and Traditional Rulers.

Ambassador Jackson, said the celebration also marked 61 years of the United States’ partnership with Ghana and a shared heritage which served as a reminder that the two countries could overcome historic evils and create new beginnings.

He said the close ties between Ghana and the USA, evidenced by the number of Americans resident in Ghana, attending Ghanaian Universities and visiting Ghana each year.

He said the high numbers of Ghanaians living in America, students enrolled in US Universities, tourists visiting the US and entrepreneurs seeking commercial opportunities in the US, had led to bilateral trade between the two countries exceeding $1.6 billion in 2017.

He added that the visit of the US Secretary of Commerce, Mr Wilbur Ross, was evidence of the importance that the US government placed on strengthening trade relations with Ghana.

“As the gateway to Africa, Ghana plays a key role for US companies developing their presence on the continent… we are proud of the commercial successes we have achieved together.

“I am particularly proud of the principles of transparency and corporate social responsibility observed by American companies around the world,” he noted.

Recounting some of his most meaningful successes in Ghana over the past two-and-a half years, Mr Jackson mentioned the Partnership for Education programme with the Ministry of Education.

He said the partnership over the past two years, has reached 700,000 primary school students with about five million books and teacher training aids to help children learn to read in 11 indigenous languages and English.

The US’s health partnership with Ghana, including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), had provided antiretroviral care for Ghanaians living with AIDS.

Maternal and child health care services had significantly improved, while malaria-related deaths have declined and Ghana had become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate Trachoma, a contagious bacterial eye infection.

Other areas of partnership between Ghana and the USA that the Ambassador highlighted were military partnership with the New Defence Cooperation Agreement.

He said the agreement would see both countries continuing to work side by side to address threats to global peace and security, and the Millennium Challenge Power Compact, which will ensure that Ghanaians have reliable and affordable electricity.

“The United States is working with Ghana to build a bright future, literally,” he stated, adding “as I close, I want to sincerely thank the people of Ghana for the warm welcome and friendship you have offered me.”

Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who spoke on behalf of the government, said the US continued to be a faithful ally in Ghana’s building and maintenance of a robust multi-party democracy and a strong economy.

He noted that both Ghana and the US were consistently committed to using the private sector as the driving force to transform their economies, create jobs and ultimately promote economic growth for their people.

“It may be noted that economic relations between our two countries are robust, and have been characterised by the forging of solid business ventures and exchanges, mostly within the private sector, the latest of which is the effective collaboration that paved the way for many American franchises to invest in Ghana,” he stated.

He said Ghana was open for business and a new type of partnership that focused on value-addition to raw materials.

He therefore invited US investors to explore mutually-beneficial investment opportunities in Ghana’s agriculture, petroleum, infrastructure and mineral exploration and production sectors, with a view to add value to these products locally through Public Private Partnership arrangements.

Mr Amewu, also congratulated the outgoing Ambassador for his work in Ghana during his tenure and commended him for his commitment to deepening Ghana-US Relations over the period.

“As you bid us farewell Ambassador Jackson, may I, on behalf of the government and people of Ghana express our profound appreciation to you and your able team for supporting the government before, during and after the election.

“Your immense contribution and personal commitment to the deepening of Ghana-US relations will forever remain in our hearts and minds. Ayekoo,” he said.