President of Ghana discusses US relations with his country

On Friday, March 2, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a luncheon in honor of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.

Atlantic Council Vice President and Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham introduced the president and welcomed participants.

In his remarks, President Akufo-Addo highlighted the common bonds between Ghana and the United States, insisting that the relationship should continue to receive “our full attention and support.” While addressing issues of poverty and development, President Akufo-Addo articulated his country’s commitment to democratic values, citing Ghana’s economic progress under democratically-elected governments over the past twenty-five years. The president noted that, in that time, Ghana has seen government led by one political party peacefully transfer power to administrations led by another party on three different occasions, following elections organized under the constitution.

Just days before Ghana celebrates its 61st Anniversary of Independence, the president stated that Ghana has acted as a “beacon in the development of democratic processes on the [African] continent.” However, President Akufo-Addo pointed out that “the Ghanaian people are still much poorer than they should be sixty years after independence” due to poor policy decisions and political turmoil. He then enumerated his government’s actions to solve this issue by strengthening sound macroeconomic policies, cracking down on corruption, and imposing fiscal discipline. Having significantly decreased state debt and increased projected growth from 3.3 to more than 8 percent in just over a year, the president illustrated his vision for Ghana to become the fastest growing economy in the world—a rich country imbued with the spirit of independence and self-sufficiency.

The president also thanked the Africa Center, noting that Dr. Pham and the Atlantic Council are “not fair-weather friends: they invited me here when I was [the] leader of the opposition, and they brought me back here as President. So, they are even-handed.”

The president was accompanied by a delegation that included Ambassador to the United States H.E. Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration H.E. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development H.E. Hajia Alima Mahama. Also in attendance and participating in the roundtable were Atlantic Council International Advisory Board Member Mr. Mehmet Nazif Günal, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and President, MNG Group of Companies; Atlantic Council Board Director Mr. Murathan Doruk Günal, Chief Executive Officer, MNG Group of Companies; Mr. Christopher Runyan, Acting Deputy Assistant Adminstrator, Bureau for Africa, US Agency for International Development; Amb. Stephanie Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State; and several other US government officials and business leaders. Also participating in the event were three former assistant secretaries of state for African affairs, Amb. Johnnie Carson, Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Africa Center Senior Fellow Constance Berry Newman.