US, Ghana deepen trade to create

BY: Theophilus Yartey
Ms Molly Phee, the United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, briefing Mr Theophilus Yartey, Deputy Editor, Daily Graphic, at the residence of the US Ambassador to Ghana in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI
Ms Molly Phee, the United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, briefing Mr Theophilus Yartey, Deputy Editor, Daily Graphic, at the residence of the US Ambassador to Ghana in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI

The United States of America (USA) is relying on its Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to deepen trading activities with Ghana to create more employment for the youth.


The US created the DFC a few years ago to help mobilise foreign direct investments to help support projects in Africa and partner industries on the continent.

“I think that is also an important programme and I absolutely agree that working together to build trade between our two nations to create more employment for you and for us, and to create benefits for both countries is absolutely in our shared interest,” the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms Molly Phee, said.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, Ms Phee, who is on her first trip to Africa as Assistant Secretary, noted that the DFC had been doing very important and interesting works in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa.

“You know, we also have engagements with Ghana through the Millennium Challenge Corporation which was also designed to help successful economies to expand their success.

“I think that is also an important programme and I absolutely agree that working together to build trade between our two nations to create more employment for you and for us and to create benefits for both countries is absolutely in our shared interest,” Ms Phee stated.

Good governance

Commenting on some extremist activities in Africa, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs observed that weak governments that failed to perform for the citizens created vulnerabilities that terrorists could exploit.

It was, therefore, necessary to look at the terrorist problem on the continent also as a governance problem.

“Governance is hard to do, it is hard for my country and many other countries too. So, we need to figure out ways together to deepen the roots and values of democracy in societies,” the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs stated.

Context

Ms Phee was responding to a question on the recent disturbances in West Africa which has seen the military topple two governments and also seen the emergence of terrorist groups in West Africa, creating serious security concerns.

She said in her recent meeting with Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, some ministers of state and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Vice-President outlined efforts by President Akufo-Addo to address the challenges in Mali and Guinea.

“I am happy to see President Akufo-Addo of Ghana who is also the leader of ECOWAS taking the lead together with other Presidents to collectively address the current situation in Mali and Guinea,” the US envoy said.

Agenda for Africa
Commenting on the US agenda for Africa, she said the US was concerned about the state of democracy both at home and in countries across the world.

She said US President Joe Biden saw democracy as an important element to help unleash the potential of citizens to achieve peace and prosperity.

“So he is very interested in helping to promote democracies. As part of that he has also noted that corruption can be a cancer that eats at the success of democracy. So he would like us to work a bit more to help others to tackle the challenge of corruption.

“He is also interested in pushing human rights higher up on the agenda and understanding that human rights is really a sense of inclusion in societies. When all groups feel included, it reduces the grievances they might otherwise have that could lead to insecurity,” she pointed out.

Ms Phee also noted that the US was interested in the health challenges on the continent.

Taking advantage of AGOA
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs also urged exporters in the country to contact the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub to help them take full advantage of AGOA.

The AGOA is a United States Trade Act that seeks to enhance market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries
In spite of the free market access that this Act provides for Ghana, exporters have over the years failed to take maximum advantage of the opportunity.

Ms Phee said the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub was designed to help Ghanaian exporters to take advantage of AGOA.

"I just heard an example from a Ghanaian woman entrepreneur in the apparel market about how the hub assisted her. 

So I want to encourage those who are not having great successes yet to consider contacting the hub, she said. 

Read the full interview in the Saturday edition.