Thank you for that welcome and thank you all for coming.
I am happy to participate in this dedication to a center that allows us to prepare for and respond to crises.
When one of our past Secretaries of State Colin Powell was asked about his extraordinary success, he once said:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
Of the many things that history teaches us, we can be sure that some form of significant crisis, or incident caused by forces of nature, will come along sooner rather than later. It is true in Ghana, in West Africa, and throughout the world. The United Sates is not immune—we expect tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., and we must be prepared to respond when they strike. Here in Ghana, we all realize that the rainy season continues to test the limits of the infrastructure within cities and villages al through the country.
To combat these challenges, it is clear that disaster preparedness is necessary for monitoring, planning, warning, and reacting to possible triggering events. We applaud the Republic of Ghana, through the Ministry of the Interior, for being proactive in disaster reduction by establishing the National Disaster Management Organization or “NADMO.”
Throughout the last eight years, NADMO has worked with the U.S. Embassy, USAID, the U.S. Defense Department’s AFRICOM Defense Institution Building office, and the State Partnership Program to ensure the National Emergency Operations Center became a reality. Dedicated personnel, such as former NADMO director Kofi Portuphy, worked with the Government of Ghana to request national funds to construct the 4-story building that stands before us. Once construction was completed, NADMO effectively worked with the U.S. Embassy, AFRICOM, and the State Partnership Program to renovate an entire floor, converting it into the most comprehensive Emergency Operations Center in all of West Africa, with 32 workstations, computer monitors for displaying real-time data, and a state-of-the-art communications system to ensure information is shared with stakeholders throughout the country.
In 2015, all West Africa countries will benefit from NADMO while attending the ECOWAS-led West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative in coordination with this AFRICOM-funded investment.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the stakeholders who have invested time and effort into this comprehensive approach to disaster preparedness.
I thank you all, and look forward to more discussion.