Welcome! Good morning and thank you for joining me here for breakfast today. I’m so grateful that, through the excellent leadership of your Board, we have a vibrant American Chamber of Commerce here in Ghana. I had an excellent initial meeting with Joe and with Simon Madjie shortly after my arrival, and I was pleased to hear about the positive and productive relationship you have and have had with our Embassy team over the past decades. I’m also impressed by the regularity and variety of programs and events you have, and I’m sure this will be the first of many times that I get to see all of you as a group during my tenure here.
The United States shares AmCham Ghana’s goals to:
- Contribute positively to overall economic stability;
- Help U.S. businesses prosper and grow;
- Increase job opportunities; and
- Encourage and promote Ghana’s private enterprise system.
As many of you know, we have many programs and initiatives through the U.S. government meant to support these objectives. Part of my job here is to connect these dots – to deepen the U.S.-Ghana relationship by connecting U.S. government programs and initiatives to people like you – people dedicated to the same vision of a Ghana with a strong economy and strong private sector advancing Ghana’s development, in part via greater U.S. trade and investment.
So today, I’m happy to welcome Heather Lanigan, who has come from Washington to introduce you to one such program. Ms. Lanigan is the sub-Saharan Africa Director at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (or USTDA). Heather has many years of experience at USTDA and will give you a more in-depth presentation, but, by way of brief introduction, USTDA provides grant funding for feasibility studies for public or private sector infrastructure projects in middle or low-income countries around the world. These grants help meet USTDA’s dual mission of facilitating the development of sustainable infrastructure projects and supporting the use of U.S. equipment and services.
As you all know, it can be difficult and costly to properly design major infrastructure projects. It’s important for infrastructure projects to have detailed feasibility studies to ensure that they’re sized and priced properly; that the right equipment is being used; and that the proper economic, environmental, and financial analyses have been completed. USTDA can provide grant funding to do this important analysis to help ensure successful infrastructure development and commercial deals here in Ghana.
To provide you with one quick example, just last week I was out in Kpone (Pong) to launch an $860,000 feasibility study grant to support a U.S. company and its Ghanaian partner to build solar energy systems. When the feasibility study is complete, these two companies will partner to install solar energy systems using solar panels manufactured in Ghana with equipment such as inverters and batteries manufactured in the United States. This is just one small recent example of how USTDA can leverage commercial partnerships that have an impact in support of our mutual goals.
I hope that some of you will take advantage of this important tool, and now, I would like to welcome Heather Lanigan to speak with us in greater detail about USTDA.