Vice President of the United States (US) Kamala Harris has given the strongest signal of the intention of the Biden administration to step-up relations of the world’s super-power with the African continent.
Kamala Harris is in Ghana where she begins a nine-day three-nation tour of the African continent which will have her and her husband ( the second gentleman) Douglas Emhoff, visit Tanzania as well as Zambia.
At the start of her three-day visit to Ghana, Vice President Harris paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the seat of Ghana’s presidency, Jubilee House on Monday 27 March 2023.
After inspecting a guard of honour formed on the forecourt of the Jubilee House, Kamala Harris and her delegation proceeded to hold bilateral talks with President Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and the rest of the Ghanaian delegation.
President Akufo-Addo and US Vice President Kamala Harris after the bilateral engagement, held a joint press conference at the banquet hall of the Jubilee House.
Coastal West Africa
In her statement the Vice President announced that the Biden-Harris Administration intends to invest more than $100 million to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in Coastal West Africa, including at least $86 million in funding over three years specifically dedicated to implementation of the new 10-year plan.
The plan according to Ms Harris, “is intended to address regional threats of violent extremism and instability Coastal West Africa and enable the U.S. Government to work with Congress to marshal additional assistance to support efforts in the region over the coming years”.
“The United States supports the holistic approach being taken by Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Togo to address threats of violent extremism and instability, combining security, development, and peacebuilding” Vice President Harris said.
On the subject matter of support for Ghana’s economic recovery and debt restructuring, Vice President Harris noted that “the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) will deploy a full-time resident advisor in 2023, to Accra to assist the Ministry of Finance in developing and executing medium- to long term reforms needed to improve debt sustainability and support a competitive, dynamic government debt market”.
“The project will complement and build on the Government of Ghana’s debt restructuring efforts. This project is part of OTA’s ongoing engagement to strengthen public financial management and financial sector oversight across sub-Saharan Africa” Kamala Harris stated.
“For 2023, OTA will execute 25 projects in 15 African countries. This includes eight new projects in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Zambia in revenue policy and administration; budget and financial accountability; government debt issuance and infrastructure financing; banking and financial services; and economic crimes” she added.
President Akufo-Addo, in his address, noted that Ghana’s relations with United States is an enduring one which will long continue for generations to come.
He observed that the purpose of the visit of the US Vice President is to reaffirm the ties of cooperation and the bonds of friendship that the two countries [US and Ghana] attach to each other.
“The Vice President and I discussed at length how to boost our political and economic relations, cultural and people to people exchanges, as well as out cooperation at the multi-lateral level.
“Our deliberations also centered on driving investment opportunities, domestic and foreign, into our two countries and the need for enhanced cooperation and partnership in our development efforts” President Akufo-Addo said.
“I happy to state that this afternoon’s meeting has further boosted the steadfast cooperation between us [Ghana and US] and Ghana will continue to collaborate with the United States of America at all levels particularly, towards a peaceful resolution of conflicts, and in the search for global peace and security to promote sustainable development around the world” Akufo-Addo added.
No Al-Qaeda elements
In answer to a question posed by a New York Times journalist who sort to know whether or not there are Al-Qaeda elements operating in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo pointed out that he has no information on the presence or otherwise of troops of the Al-Qaeda militant organisation in Ghana.
“The presence of Al-Qaeda in Ghana? I don’t know. Formally, we don’t have any information to that effect, it may well be that there are cells and others already in the country, but those are matters that the security agencies are very much on top of and we are hoping that there will be no Al-Qaeda presence in Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo noted.