The Assistant US Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr Tibor P. Nagy, has described Ghana as a model of political openness in Africa which is deserving of other countries on the continent to emulate.
He stated that Ghana had become a trailblazer in its democratic experiment in West Africa and urged countries on the continent that were not exactly democratically open to seek reforms to attract the necessary investments.
Mr Nagy was answering questions via telephonic news conference yesterday from journalists in Ghana, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the United States of America, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The news conference was held ahead of his upcoming tour of some West African states.
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He responded to questions based on US policy towards Africa such as the strengthening democratic institutions, advancing peace and security and supporting African economic growth and development.
Responding to a question on how the US was supporting electoral process in Africa, Mr Nagy indicated that the US depended on its embassies for projects in countries embarking on some initiatives but added that the US had no interest in influencing regime change.
He expressed his disagreement about the penchant for associating negative developments with Africa and urged such people to “look at Africa in the perspective of a windshield and not the rear mirror.”
“We have seen tremendous progress in Ghana just like it is in many parts of Africa,” Mr Nagy who is a retired career Foreign Service officer of 32 years stated.
With more than 20 years in assignments in Africa, he served as the US Ambassador to Ethiopia (1999-2002); ambassador to Guinea from 1996-1999; deputy chief of mission in Nigeria (1993-1995); Cameroon (1990-1993) and Togo (1987-1990).
Expressing optimism about the potential of the African continent to make a difference in world affairs, Mr Nagy stated that the future of the continent largely relied on its youth whom he described as very progressive.
He said the population of Africa was going to double by 2035 and as such there was the need for African governments to put in place the necessary structures to attract foreign direct investments to create job opportunities for the youth.
Responding to a question from a journalist in Nairobi, the ambassador decried the deep rooted corruption that had plagued many parts of the continent, a situation he described as endemic that required a generational shift to change.
“People are sick and tired of the events of corruption. A total cultural change that should come from the African right from the bureaucrats to the ordinary person is required to change the situation,” Mr Nagy added.
Responding to a question on what he made of China’s focus towards Africa and the inundation of substandard Chinese products on the African market, the US diplomat stated that Africa could not be blamed for doing business with China but what he could do was to encourage US businesses to invest in the continent.
“Africa also has a responsibility to protect its market and put structures in place to ensure the right environment is created to attract investments to create jobs and bring prosperity to its people,” Mr Nagy submitted.