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Apr 5, 2016

GHANAIAN COMMUNITY IN U.S. CELEBRATE 59 INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY


 

Ghanaians in the United States of America (USA), marked Ghana’s 59th Independence anniversary on Friday, March 4, 2016 under the theme “Investing In The Youth For Ghana’s Transformation” with a cocktail reception attended by officials of the US government,  Diplomats and a host of people including Ghanaian nationals

The celebration was climaxed with an interfaith (non-denominational) Church service held on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Speaking at the reception, His Excellency Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith (Rtd), Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America, recounted the history of Ghana and said as a relatively young country, Ghana has navigated its path out of political and socio-economic challenges towards responsible leadership, democracy, good governance, rule of law, economic growth and prosperity.

He said under the distinguished leadership of President John Dramani Mahama, the government of Ghana has focused on four main pillars to advance the  “Better Ghana Agenda”, The four-prong objectives are (i) Investing in People; (ii) Transparent and Accountable Governance; (iii) A strong and Resilient Economy; and (iv) Accelerating Infrastructure Development.

Addressing the theme of the 59th Anniversary of statehood, “Investing in the Youth for Ghana’s Transformation” Ambassador Smith said government is determined in its quest to enhance the country’s human resources by paying particular attention to the development of the youth of Ghana.

Government over the years, has consequently put in place a number of comprehensive programmes to enable the youth realize their full potential and contribute to national development, for in his words, “the youth are seen as today’s leaders and not future leaders as is always said”.

Touching on Ghana-US relations, the Ambassador maintained that US has been a faithful and true friend of Ghana and the Ghanaian government acknowledges with profound appreciation, the immense contribution the US makes to various sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

“We are proud of the achievements realised in Ghana as a result of our collaboration and partnership over the years”, he added.

Ambassador Smith named some of the US sponsored projects as USAID’s support for learning in Ghana’s primary schools at the cost of $71 million, Young African Leadership Initiative and the Nkwanta South District Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre, which he said has become a beacon of hope for the country.

A major US foreign policy success story that received due praise by His Excellency Lt. Gen. J. H. Smith is the rich legacy of the US Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana – the first country to receive fifty-two (52) volunteers on 30th August 1961. 55 years on, the programme, initiated by President John F. Kennedy continue to impact positively and builds a strong bond of interpersonal relationship at the people to people level.

Turning to the Ghanaian community, he said their exposure, knowledge, experience and contacts, place them in strategic positions to make meaningful contribution to the realization of a better Ghana and that they should make their skills, knowledge and other resources more and more available to the benefit of the nation.

“Government acknowledges with profound appreciation your contribution to the national economy”, he said in acknowledgement of the community’s contribution to national development.

The US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry was represented by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ambassador Bruce Wharton gave the assurance the US remains a partner to the people and government of Ghana and look forward to building an even stronger relationship with Ghana.

Praising Ghana as a shining democracy, Ambassador Wharton said the US considers Ghana a leading democracy and a model for other African countries.

He assured that the US will continue to support efforts at having free, fair and peaceful elections in Ghana and wished Ghanaians a successful, peaceful and transparent elections in November.

Ghana is one of the US’s most important trading partners and is committed to expanding the already healthy economic relationship, Ambassador Wharton added.

On bilateral trade between the US and Ghana, he said it currently stands at $1.4 billion with the US eager to increase that amount to the benefit of both countries to help create jobs.

It was for this reason that the US is pushing for more exports to Ghana while encouraging the country to take advantage of the recently re-authorised AGOA.

According Ambassador Wharton, 40 Young Leaders from Ghana, would visit the US this year under Mandela Washington Fellowship and thanked Ambassador Smith for hosting the 2015 Mandela Fellows at the Embassy.

On behalf of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry Ambassador Wharton wished Ghanaians and the government well as they celebrate the 59th anniversary of the country’s independence.

Ghana’s 59th Independence Anniversary celebration was climaxed with a non-denominational Church service to thank the Almighty God for guiding the country all these years.

An interim management committee of the Council of Ghanaian Interfaith Alliance was inaugurated and sworn-in at the end of the church service held at the Embassy on March 6, 2016.