President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed to the United States Government to help West African deal with the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.
Speaking with a US Bi-partisan Congressional delegation that paid him a visit at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said the threats posed by the expanding Islamic network were detrimental to the socio-economic development of the region.
He told the delegation that the growing threat of terrorism in the region was a result of the US decade-long fight against terrorism in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
The delegation is in the country to evaluate US Government’s projects and USAID programmes and investments.
The President said the terrorism phenomenon further heightened in the region when the US fought and drove hardened Jihadist groups from the Middle East a decade ago, and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Terrorism groups, which were originally confided in countries bordering the Sahel regions, took advantage of the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and penetrated the West African region such as Mail to find refuge from the US fight against them in the Middle East.
President Akufo-Addo told the delegation that “since then, they have been systematically wagging war with Mali” and there was a need for international collaboration to stop them from entering the coastal countries of the West African region.
Ghana, which is fortunate not to have witnessed or experienced any terrorist attack despite its nearness to Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, is predisposed as a result of its closeness to these countries.
President Akufo-Addo, who said the European Union and Britain currently were helping to combat terrorism in the region, appealed to the US to support the efforts.
On the economic front, President Akufo-Addo called for increased US investments in the country’s railway development to boost the transportation sector.
The President noted that: “we are looking for a major American investment in Ghana…We need to strengthen economic ties between our two countries.”
President commended the extremely strong and committed relations that existed between the two countries, adding: “is important to us (Ghana) and we will continue to work to improve, expand and deepen the relationship.”
Madam Barbara Lee, leader of the Sub-Committee on State and Foreign Operations of the US Congress who spoke on behalf of the delegation, stressed the need for US and Ghana to reinforce their ‘strong relationship.”
Acknowledging that Ghana has challenges, Madam Lee said some appreciable progress had been achieved and assured that the delegation would make recommendations to the US government to further strengthen the relations between the two countries.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD