Why Ghana first - Face to face with US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee

BY: Theophilus Yartey
Ms Molly Phee (left), 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.
Ms Molly Phee (left), 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.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, embarked upon her first trip to Africa as Assistant Secretary.

She began her travel in Ghana last Monday and Tuesday where she met with senior government officials and civil society organisations before leaving to Burkina Faso for similar engagements.

The Deputy Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Theophilus Yartey, caught up with Ms Molly Phee when she visited Ghana and she granted him this exclusive interview on a wide range of issues bordering on why the choice of Ghana as her first stop, President Biden’s agenda for Africa, insecurity and military takeovers in some countries and how to address them. Below are some excerpts.

Theophilus Yartey: Is this visit your first official visit to Africa?

Molly Phee: Yes, it is my first time and I am thrilled to be here and I intentionally chose to enter Ghana first.

TY: Any special reason?
MP: Yes, there are several special reasons. The first is to honour Ghana as a leader on the continent. I have more reasons for choosing Ghana but I can start if you ask me another question to that effect.

The other reason is to learn from Ghana and how we can follow Ghana’s leadership in so many important sectors such as governance, democracy, security, economy and climate. How we can partner more effectively to meet our common challenges.

The third reason I have is that I am steward in my new job of US engagement in Africa and this is one of our best embassies, led by one of our best ambassadors with many government agencies working here at many different levels and sectors. So I wanted to come here to learn from my own people as well as from Ghanaians.

The fourth reason is that I have always wanted to come to Accra. When I served for the United States in the UN Security Council, Ghana also served on the Security Council and so I made friends with the Ghanaian diplomats and I admired very much their approach to work. They were collegial, insightful and thoughtful about the peace and security challenges facing us and they were fun. So, I have always wanted to come to Ghana.

I am generally excited to be here and also happy about the role Ghana plays for its citizens and the sub-region. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to learn from Ghana and to consider how we move forward. I really see this visit as a great first stop for me.

Recently, the President of Ghana met with the Vice-President of the US, Kamala Harris, and they both talked about some of the things I have shared with you. I look forward to deepening and strengthening the partnership with Ghana and other countries in the sub-region for our mutual benefit.

Please read the full story in today's [Saturday, October 23, 2021] edition of the Daily Graphic newspaper or on Graphic NewsPlus App. Thank you.