Remarks by Ambassador Gene Cretz Microsoft Breakfast

Good morning. I’m pleased to welcome Microsoft’s Executive VP and General Counsel Brad Smith and his team from the U.S. and around the region. Their presence today in Accra is an indication of the important place Ghana holds for this leading U.S. company. Having Mayor Vanderpuije and other distinguished Ghanaian leaders join us speaks to the leading role the American business community is playing here in Ghana.

Microsoft obviously doesn’t need an introduction – the company is an integral part of most of our lives and has helped drive the global economy for the past 30 years. You should know, however, that their presence in Africa and in Ghana is not new. The firm has been dedicated to partnering with the continent for many decades and has a well-established operation in West Africa. I am particularly pleased with Microsoft’s focus on building sustainable solutions that incorporate local partners, local management and local know-how. While Brad sits in Redmond at the firm’s global headquarters, Microsoft Ghana is managed by Ghanaians, incorporating the best of African and American values.

We acknowledge Microsoft for your generous support and engagement with the Young African Leaders Initiative or YALI, including the soon to be established Regional Learning Center in Accra.  They boldly recognize the need to build the capacity of Ghana’s youth today in order for Ghana to remain competitive in the global workforce tomorrow.  For being among the largest American contributors to the YALI Initiative in terms of internships offered across the continent, software and training, we thank you Microsoft.

During his visit to Ghana, Brad and his team will be working on important initiatives in education, technology and eGovernment. Microsoft’s global perspective on these issues, coupled with the capabilities of the company’s great local partners, is a sure-fire path to success. I look forward to seeing very positive results come out of this trip.

Thank you again for joining us this morning to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Microsoft here in Ghana. I’d like to give Brad the opportunity to introduce himself and provide additional background on his team’s focus here in Ghana.