U.S President George W Bush will on Monday receive President John Agyekum Kufuor to the White House for a three-day state visit during which they would discuss issues relating to democracy, economic development and security in the West Africa region.
The visit, which is reserved for America’s closest partners, will celebrate one of the closest bilateral partnerships the U.S has, a U.S Public Affairs statement said at the weekend.
“I think it is no secret that President Bush has put Africa at the forefront of his foreign policy agenda. I think that relations between the United States and Africa are better now than at any time in American history, and I don’t think that any administration has put more emphasis on Africa than this administration” the statement quoted Mr Todd J. Moss, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs as saying.
He said Africa policy would be one of the legacies of the Bush administration — “that is something that the White House and President (Bush) recognize clearly and are quite proud of.”
Moss said Bush’s February 2008 trip to some African countries was a series of celebrations, “and I think that inviting President Kufuor here for a state visit is part of that celebration of the partnership between Africa and the United States, and nowhere is that stronger than between the United States and Ghana.”
Previewing the White House consultations, Mr Moss, said the discussions were expected to mirror U.S.-Ghanaian relations, which span the three primary areas of democracy, economic development and regional security.
He said Ghana had recorded one of the enviable records in Africa by showing commitment in democracy during elections.
Both the U.S and Ghana will hold presidential elections later this year and in January, both countries will have new presidents because both leaders are at the end of their constitutional terms.
Mr Moss said a second area was economic development, where again, Ghana had been a leader on the continent by achieving more than five percent annual economic growth.
“We have really seen Ghana grow, not just in traditional sectors such as mining, cocoa and gold, but we are also seeing growth in the services sector, especially financial services,” he said.
Ghana is a U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation country under which it signed a 547 million dollars development agreement in August 2006.
On regional security, Mr Moss credited Ghana for its peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, and President Kufuor in particular, for working tirelessly to resolve difficulties in Kenya in the wake of that country’s recent contested elections.
The U.S. partnership with Ghana, Mr Moss said, dates back to the 1960s. Richard Nixon, when he was vice president before being elected president of the United States, attended President Kwame Nkrumah’s inauguration in 1957.
The visit roughly coincided with the start-up of the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
President John F. Kennedy signed a deal in December 1961 to help Ghana finance the building of the Akosombo Dam, which to this day generates much of the country’s electric power.
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