President John Dramani Mahama will next month lead a government delegation to attend the maiden US/ African Leaders Summit in Washington that will focus on trade and investment.
Mr Gene A. Cretz, US Ambassador in Ghana, made the announcement on Wednesday in Accra during a reception to mark America’s 238th Independence Day.
He said the US/African Leaders Summit and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) were two major initiatives launched by President Barack Obama aimed at deepening US engagement with Africa.
The Ambassador said YALI was a major effort by the US government, along with top American corporations and partners across Africa, to invest in the next generation of African leaders – the young people who would increasingly shape political, economic and social progress in Ghana and across Africa.
He stated that as part of YALI, 18 young Ghanaian leaders are in the US taking part in the leadership development programmes.
The Ambassador said Ghana had become one of US’s most important partners on the African continent and added “We work together on a wide range of issues we both care about – economic growth and development, democracy and good governance and peace and security.”
“The state of our bilateral relationship has never been better and our commitment to the Ghanaian people’s welfare and development has never been more evident”.
He said negotiations would soon be concluded for the second Millennium Challenge Compact worth $500 million for projects in the energy sector.
Mr Cretz said the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, in collaboration with Ghana’s Health Ministry, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana AIDS Commission played an important role in the decline of Ghana’s HIV prevalence rate from 3.6 per cent in 2005 to 1.3 per cent in 2013.
The Ambassador said over the past decade, more than 500 schools had been built in Ghana by the American taxpayers and that in 2013, $8 million worth of scholarships were awarded to young Ghanaians to study in the US.
Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Education Minister, said the government recognized the important role the West Africa Regional Training Centre, which embodies the shared bond between the two countries, was doing in the training of security officials, judges, prosecutors and drug enforcement agencies.
The Minister said this was critical to the fight against drug trafficking, people trafficking and organized crime in the sub-region.
She said: “The complexity and changing face of international crime requires that we work together to fight this menace that threatens the future of our youth, our communities and the society at large.”
“Through our joint efforts, we will succeed, I am, therefore, happy to note that some positive results have been achieved in this area”.
Prof Opoku-Agyemang said the country continued to face formidable challenges in the area of energy generation and that the government was hopeful that this would soon be a thing of the past as Ghana was due to sign the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account within the next few months.
She said the second compact would focus on improving the energy sector, especially in the power generation and distribution chain.
She said this would help the country to not only provide reliable energy for Ghanaians, but would also help in its goal of becoming a net exporter of energy in the sub-region, under the West Africa Power Pool initiative, which would further sustain Ghana’s economic growth.
The Minister said government appreciates the gains made in past years under the Millennium Challenge Account and would ensure the judicious use of the funds approved for the second compact.
Prof Opoku-Agyemang commended the US government for its support towards Ghana’s socio-economic development in critical sectors such as health, education and good governance.
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