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US Dept of State / Press Availability with Ghana President John Atta Mills

By US Department of State
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WASHINGTON, January 30, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Press Availability

William J. Burns

Deputy Secretary

Accra, Ghana

January 26, 2012

Deputy Secretary Burns: I am delighted to be here in Ghana, delighted to be able to convey to you the warmest wishes of President Obama and Secretary Clinton. As you know Sir, it was certainly no accident that President Obama chose Ghana as the site for his historic speech in 2009 about “a new moment of promise for Africa.” The truth is that nowhere across this entire continent is that promise more evident today than it is here in Ghana. Ghana is setting the standard for the entire continent in democratic development and we like all Ghanaians look forward to another peaceful and transparent election at the end of this year.

Ghana is setting the standard in economic development with a remarkable record of economic growth and increasingly attractive investment climate and responsible management of energy resources. The United States is proud to be able to continue to contribute to your efforts to promote economic development, particularly through an innovative new program, the Partnership for Growth, in which we seek to bring to bear all the different resources of the U.S. Government to support your development efforts. I would like to add that Ghana is one of only four pilot countries around the world in which we are seeking to launch this program.

Ghana is also setting the standard in its contributions to regional peace and security as one of the largest contributors anywhere in the world to international peacekeeping efforts. So this is a very important moment in our relationship, truly a moment of great promise. Half a century ago Ghana was the first country to have Peace Corps volunteers and 50 years on we are very proud that the Peace Corps continue to work with Ghanaians in support of development goals here. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of USAID's cooperative efforts in Ghana, and Ghana as you know Sir, is nearing the successful completion of its first five-year Millennium Challenge program, a $500,000,000 program.

We look forward to continuing to work under that program, and we look forward to continuing to cooperate in many areas including food security, and health. l look forward very much to the opportunity today to discuss how we can deepen cooperation in those areas, how we can build an even stronger partnership, in the interest of both Americans and Ghanaians, for many years to come. So once again Sir, thank you very much.

President Mills: Thank you very much Secretary Burns, Secretary Carson, your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we feel really honored to have such a powerful delegation paying us a visit today. We very much value our friendship with the United States. It is the kind of partnership which we find most rewarding, and which we want to strengthen and which we want to be a showcase to the rest of the world that it is the kind of partnership which is based on really true and good values: democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and clearly these are values which can only inure to the benefit of a society.

We value our friendship with the United States for a number of reasons. You've been one of our greatest benefactors in all areas of our national lives and for this we are really grateful. Indeed we are being considered and in fact we have been considered for a 2nd compact under the Millennium Challenge Account and there a quite a number of areas and opportunities which you have made available to us and we are also happy that American investors have taken great interest in investing in Ghana. Our duty as a government is to make even the investment climate more active, more rewarding, and in fact more accommodating. This is one of the things that we are striving to do.

We appreciate the U.S. support for our peacekeeping men and women and also for the interest that the U.S. has shown and continues to show in Africa's development and also peace and security in Africa. We therefore are really honored and grateful that you've chosen to visit us at this time. As you rightly said, President Obama's visit which was a complete surprise to us obviously lifted the Ghana-U.S. relations to a higher pedestal. It is something which obviously gave us the pride of place and also gave us much publicity in the eyes of the world and we are really grateful for this. We know that there were reasons which involved the choice of Ghana, even though not always articulated, we know and we know therefore that we have a standard to maintain if not to surpass. So once again, l will like to assure you that we are very grateful that you and your powerful delegation are here and we will fully cooperate with you and see how together we can move our two countries forward. Thank you.