Remarks by Ambassador Robert P. Jackson: United States of America’s 241st Independence Day Celebration

DCM Melinda Tabler-Stone and mission staff singing joyfully

Honorable Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta,
Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State,
Honorable Members of the Council of State and of Parliament,
Your Excellencies and Dear Colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps,
Traditional and Religious Leaders,
Members of the Press,
Dear Mission Colleagues,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Akwaaba!  Babs and I, along with my deputy, Melinda Tabler-Stone, and all our colleagues, welcome you to the U.S. Embassy.

Tonight we celebrate the 241st anniversary of U.S. independence.  We also mark 60 years of partnership between the United States and Ghana.  You can see images from those 60 years on display here this evening — six decades of diplomatic and cultural ties.  I’m sure some of you remember when both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vice President Richard Nixon were here to celebrate Ghana’s independence, in 1957.  You may recall those first-ever Peace Corps volunteers, the first visit by a sitting U.S. president, or the first time Ghana defeated the United States in football.  (Don’t get any ideas about Saturday, though.)  The late 1950s and early 1960s were a time of optimism, great progress, and substantial development in both our countries.  Along with the United Kingdom, we partnered to build the Akosombo Dam and to create the largest man-made lake in the world.

Although our official relationship is 60 years old, our bond started hundreds of years ago, at one of humanity’s lowest points, when hundreds of thousands of people from what would become Ghana, were sent to the Western Hemisphere in bondage.  Today, we are two friends — two independent, democratic nations, working toward many of the same goals.  And tonight, rather than recapping the past 60 years, I’m thinking about our future.  As we look ahead to another 60 years and more, what does the U.S.-Ghana partnership look like, and how do we get there?

The vision that drives my work every day is of a world where Ghana and the United States are equal contributors to the global economy and to global security — a world where our knowledge and our products flow back and forth, creating opportunities for citizens of both countries.  I see a strong private sector that innovates, pushes us forward, and partners with government to tackle evolving challenges.

I know there’s always some skepticism when I say we want a strong, equal partner.  But let me give you some examples of how this is actually playing out today.

Ghana’s military repeatedly ranks as one of the country’s most respected institutions.  Ghana is hailed for its contributions to international peacekeeping missions — personnel who capably and professionally carry out the important job of protecting the vulnerable.

Last month, Ghana hosted the multi-lateral military exercise known as United Accord.  This is one of many training exercises Ghana has hosted, and let me say how grateful we are for our strong cooperation on security issues. But there was something extra special about United Accord this year.

Ghana didn’t just host this year.  Ghana didn’t just receive training.  More than 60 U.S. soldiers spent a week at Ghana’s Jungle Warfare School at Achiase Military Base — making this the first time an African partner nation trained U.S. Army forces.  If you haven’t seen the reporting on this, I highly recommend that you check out the videos online.  U.S. armed forces described the training as eye-opening, demanding, and grueling … but also as important, memorable, and critical to our ability to counter threats alongside the Ghana Armed Forces.

These are U.S. soldiers who are now better able to defend the United States and our allies, because of training they received here.

That’s the partnership of the future.

Also last month, we launched the Blood Safety Information System.  Ghana is only the second country in Africa to implement this system, which tracks blood donations from donor to recipient to ensure a safe, reliable blood supply. Thanks to the leadership of Ghana’s National Blood Service, we can share knowledge back and forth about how we manage our blood supplies — information that helps us both to protect the health of our citizens.  

That’s the partnership of the future.

And let’s not overlook the critical role of the private sector.  I know the finance minister feels as strongly about this as I do.  The American and Ghanaian private sectors are driving forces that can and will cast vision, transform economies, create jobs, and ultimately strengthen our bilateral relationship.

Last week, a delegation of eight Ghanaian businesses travelled to the United States for the SelectUSA Summit, the highest profile event to promote foreign direct investment in the United States.  This was not just the first time a delegation from Ghana attended this Summit.  It was the first time a delegation from Africa attended this Summit.  At the same time, American companies are establishing and expanding their operations in Ghana, making investments and creating opportunities for Ghanaian and American citizens.

And so when I’m asked why we invest in development programs in Ghana, it’s because we see the results.  I see how that investment makes us stronger partners for the future.  We invest in agricultural programs because food security promotes national security.  We invest in reading programs because educated children become forward-thinking adults and future leaders.  We are investing in the energy sector because none of this can happen without reliable, affordable power.  Power is critical to Ghana’s economic success and industrialization.  And let me say that I truly believe that — 60 years from now — decades after it has been transformed through Millennium Challenge Compact II, ECG will be a profitable, functional entity that supplies Ghana with the power it needs to participate fully in the global economy and the global community, from Flagstaff House out to the farthest, most rural, electrified community.

Sixty years from now, God willing, another U.S. ambassador will be standing here making a speech celebrating the 301st anniversary of American independence.  I hope some of you will be there.  I hope you’ll tell the ambassador how you’ve watched the U.S.-Ghana partnership strengthen and grow and change the world.  I hope you’ll tell the ambassador how you’ve helped the U.S.-Ghana partnership strengthen and grow and change the world.  

Before closing, I want to thank my many colleagues here at the Embassy who worked very hard to make this event a success, especially Jennifer Mauldin and Margaret Langer.

I also want to thank our generous sponsors for tonight’s event.  I am truly gratified by the strong support we receive from our American business community.  I am equally proud of the great contributions American companies are making here in Ghana every day.  American businesses work collaboratively with our Ghanaian counterparts, bringing together the best aspects of our business cultures.

Forty-four American companies, American franchises, and distributors of American products contributed to make this event happen.  We have highlighted each one on the backdrop behind me and on the TV monitor.  Since none of us here tonight would be enjoying this celebration without their generous financial support, please allow me to share the list of this year’s donors:

American Products Company Limited
Aviation Alliance/DELTA Airlines
Baker Hughes
Belstar Capital
Cedar Seal Company Limited
Coca-Cola Equitorial Africa Limited
Consolidated Shipping Agencies Limited
Cummins Ghana
Dow Chemical West Africa LLC
Famous Famiglia Pizza
Fed-Ex Ghana
Forewin Ghana Limited (Representing Ernest and Julio Gallo Wines and Brandy)
Hess Ghana Exploration Limited
General Electric
Google Ghana
Ibistek Crowley
Inter-Con Security
John Deere
Johnson and Johnson
Kosmos Energy Ghana
LEASAFRIC for Hertz Rental Car
MAC Ghana representing CHEVROLET
MANTRAC Ghana representing Caterpillar
MASCO/KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
Max International
Newmont Ghana
PhiCentury Limited
PricewaterhouseCoopers Ghana Limited
SMICE International
Rendeavour (Appolonia-City of Light)
Tanink Ghana Limited
Trimble Export Limited
U-Save Car Rental (AVIS Rental Car) and Land Tours
West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO)
The Whitaker Group
Webster University Ghana

Let’s give them a round of applause.  

Thank you again for joining us tonight.  We cherish our partnership with Ghana and with each of you personally.  

Now, please join me in a toast:  To the good health and long life of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo — to the United States, and to Ghana.  May our countries share another 60 times 60 years of peace, prosperity and partnership.

Please continue to enjoy the music, the food and drink, the fellowship, and the fireworks.