Interaction with Final Year Business School Students
Remarks for Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Monday, May 6, 2019; 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
KNUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso;
Dean of the School of Business, Professor Nathaniel Boso;
Dr. Felicity Asiedu-Appiah:
KNUST School of Business Faculty and students;
Members of the media;
All protocols observed.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome! I am delighted to be here at KNUST. It was an honor to meet this morning with your Vice Chancellor, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, and to learn about the university’s history and plans for the future.
I came to Kumasi on this trip to meet with Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah, join the celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the enstoolment of the Asantehene, your Chancellor, including attending an investment forum.
Yesterday I toured the construction site for the Garden City shopping mall. Later today I will inaugurate the U.S.-funded HopeXchange Medical Center Breast and Cervical Cancer Unit. And, of course, I also came to be here today with all of you.
This is my first trip back to Kumasi since my previous assignment in Ghana from 1997 through 2001. I have fond memories of visiting Kumasi and traveling throughout the Ashanti Region with my family. I am pleased to have this opportunity today to visit with you here at one of Ghana’s preeminent academic institutions of higher learning.
Strengthening university partnerships and promoting study in the United States are some of the United States’ key priorities in Africa. And the U.S. Embassy’s robust, longstanding partnership with KNUST is a great example of the tertiary-level exchanges we’d like to see more of. KNUST hosts American Fulbright Scholars who teach and conduct research.
For example, lecturer Jeannie Hulen, who is based in the Department of Industrial Art, teaches ceramics. She helped establish exchange programs between Ghanaian students and faculty from KNUST on one hand, and the University of Arkansas on the other.
The Department has also hosted American ceramics students from her university. KNUST also has a Fulbright Fellow, MeeSoh Bossard, who is studying reproductive health among women in Kumasi. And we look forward to your welcoming within your Department of Nursing an incoming American lecturer later this year.
We also have several U.S. government exchange program participants and alumni from KNUST, such as current Fulbright Fellow Dr. Christopher Larbie, from the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Fulbright alumna Dr. Mavis Osei in the Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology studied at Long Island University in New York.
The strong showing of KNUST students as well as other Ashanti-based students in U.S. exchange programs and other programs of higher education is a testament to our strong EducationUSA team here in Kumasi. If any of you are interested in learning about continuing your studies in the United States, you should contact our Education USA advisors Marilyn Owusu and Margaret Nyarko.
Marilyn and Margaret, please stand up to be recognized. Marilyn and Margaret look forward to hearing from you!
EducationUSA is a U.S. government network of more than 425 international student advising centers in 178 countries. In Ghana, we have two EducationUSA Advising Centers – one right here in Kumasi and one in Accra. Our advisors promote U.S. higher education to students by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States.
EducationUSA is your official source of “filla” on U.S. higher education. I’ve been told that I’m in the midst of a hundred or so of the country’s top business students in their final year of study. I’m sure many of you have already sketched out a plan to transition from final year student to future business leader. A future business leader who focuses on not only the bottom line but also the overall development of the economy and, by extension, the betterment of your fellow citizens. And I hope that teaming up with United States is a part of that plan as well.
Ghana and the United States share a hope for Ghana to have the resources and capacity to drive its own economic and social development without relying over the long term on development partners for assistance. Investment-led growth and increasing bilateral trade are in both our nations’ interests.
Together, the United States and Ghana can boost foreign direct investment, create jobs, and secure a better future for Ghana’s youth. And you, the future business owners and community leaders, are key drivers of this vision.
My top objective in Ghana is to support the creation of an enterprise-driven economy through increased trade and investment in a secure, predictable, and transparent environment. I am pleased to share with you that some of our U.S. government initiatives are already bearing fruit. For example, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is now in the middle of its second compact with Ghana. This compact aims to help restructure the Ghanaian energy sector through true private sector participation. Over the next two and a half years, MCC will continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the energy sector.
Through the Compact, the United States is committed to supporting Ghana in bringing reliable and affordable power to millions of Ghanaian households and businesses. How does no more “dum sor” sound?
Agencies such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which I like to think of as “Turning Dreams into Action,” and the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) are also working to provide financing for projects, especially in Ghana’s energy and health sectors. In fact, less than two weeks ago, I witnessed the exchange of documents representing an agreement between the Export-Import Banks of the United States and Ghana to provide Ghanaian businesses up to $300 million dollars in U.S. financing on more competitive terms, to expand their businesses through importing American equipment and technology, and boost Ghana’s industrialization and economic diversification.
In March, USTDA provided grant support to conduct a detailed feasibility study to convert six dioceses of the Ghana Catholic Church to solar power. The energy for the project will be generated from solar panels assembled in Ghana and from inverters, batteries, and other equipment manufactured in the United States. The solar panels will be assembled at a manufacturing facility in Kpone, outside Tema.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has supported the growth of the apparel, horticulture, cashew, and shea industries in Ghana through the development of partnerships between U.S. companies and local processors and manufacturers. In March, I traveled to the Northern Region to participate in the launch of a shea butter processing facility and warehouse, supported by the USAID Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI) for the Yurillim Women’s Community Cooperative. This site will benefit around 600 women and highlights U.S. efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment through building connections between Ghanaian suppliers and U.S. importers.
At the Embassy, we often meet with American company representatives seeking to invest in Ghana and attracted by the country’s stability and democratic credentials. They are drawn by the Government of Ghana’s commitment to make Ghana a more attractive destination for investment by improving the business climate and supporting entrepreneurship.
It is important to note that potential investors vote with their feet based on how countries confront corruption and improve government transparency and accountability. Ultimately, however, it is up to the Ghanaian people to see that the country’s laws and policies attract investment and enable the private sector to thrive.
While governments can take a leading role, all stakeholders need to step forward, including future business people like yourselves. So I ask you to lead by example as you take up your roles in increasingly influential positions in Ghanaian society.