President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday announced Ghana’s acceptance of the invitation of the United States to join the Atlantic Cooperation as a founding member.
The Atlantic Cooperation, an initiative of the United States, seeks to bring together all coastal countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean to explore opportunities to advance shared sustainable development and economic, environmental, scientific and maritime governance goals across the Atlantic in accordance with international laws.
The initiative aims to foster a prosperous, open, peaceful and cooperative Atlantic region, building on shared capacity, innovative technologies and best practices developed by Atlantic nations to preserve the water body as a healthy, sustainable and resilient resource for future generations.
Members of the community include the United States, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ireland, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Senegal, Spain and the United Kingdom
President Akufo-Addo made the announcement at the State banquet in honour of the visiting U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris, at the Jubilee House, Accra on Monday night.
He said the government believed that such cooperation would provide the platform to develop shared approaches to the Atlantic Ocean issues and build on shared capacities and experiences for the benefit of the Atlantic Ocean region.
“As a coastal country bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Ghana recognizes that no country alone can solve the cross-boundary challenges in the Atlantic Ocean ranging from maritime security to environmental degradation.
“Ghana, therefore, welcomes and commits to exploring the numerous opportunities offered by the laudable initiative on Atlantic cooperation,” he said.
The Atlantic Ocean is home to important trade routes, significant natural resources and essential biodiversity.
Challenges such as piracy, transnational organised crime, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, climate change, pollution and environmental degradation threaten the livelihood of the communities bordering the Ocean.
The Atlantic Ocean also offers untapped economic potential, from natural resources to new technologies, with the Atlantic economy supporting 49 million jobs in Africa and generating some 21 billion dollars in Latin America. Two-thirds of the world’s renewable energy is generated in the Atlantic, and the Gulf stream dictates the earth’s climate.
On the economic front, the President said he was encouraged that more American companies were investing in Ghana.
He said his administration would continue to create and maintain a conducive investment atmosphere that would guarantee the safety of investments and good returns.
With Ghana’s economy now focused on value-addition, President Akufo-Addo was happy that the country’s relations with the United States “is now being focused on an increase in trade and investment cooperation.”
The President emphasized the shared positions of Ghana and the U.S. on the global agenda, especially the mutual attachment to the Paris Climate Accord, the strengthening of the multilateral system of international cooperation, the respect for the sovereignty of all nations great or small, the maintenance of international law and order, and the need to employ peaceful means to resolve disputes.
“We are however both resolute in the condemnation of our position on terrorism and violent extremism and Ghana within its means is determined to cooperate with the U.S. to fight the menace…to that end, we welcome the strong cooperation on security matters with the United States.”
President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance that Ghana would continue to collaborate with the United States at the bilateral and multilateral levels in finding solutions to challenges such as widespread poverty, irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations.
He emphasized that Ghana’s history had been against great power domination of the affairs world and “that was the reason Ghana led the fight for the liberation of the African continent from colonialism and imperialism and became one of the five initiators of the historic Non-Aligned Movement.”
“It is the same principle that led Ghana to vote in the UN General Assembly in the motion condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it is a position we will continue to hold.
“Great powers of whatever ilk, including friendly ones, trampling on small nations is not something we welcome and within our modest means, we will register our disapproval of it,” he stated.
The President urged the United States to support Ghana’s decision to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to repair in the short term, the country’s public finances and restore its balance of payments.
“We will count on the support of the United States in reaching a good agreement with the IMF, which would set the stage for the strong recovery of Ghana’s economy,” he appealed.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated Ghana’s stand on the reform of the UN Security Council, saying “we are committed to Africa’s common position on UN reform based on the Ezulwini Consensus and are anxious that the matter finds its way back quickly to the centre of the global agenda.”
He was pleased that “great progress” was being made on the reform of the UN Security Council, occasioned by the decision of the U.S. President to embrace the process.
He was hopeful that the leaders of the other three Permanent members of the security council would also embrace the reform process as France had recently done.
“The time has come for the global community to undertake this much-needed reform which would bring greater effectiveness to work of the UN and the security council in the maintenance of international peace and security,” he emphasized.
Kamala Harris on her part said the Biden administration was committed to strengthening the ties that bound the two nations and their people.
“These ties are a source of strength and pride for both our countries,” she said.
The U.S. Vice President praised Ghana’s leadership and advocacy on the world stage, which she said was not only vital but inspiring to many across the globe.
“Ghana is a leading voice for democracy and a leading voice in the march for freedom, justice and liberty.
“While we face challenges, I look around and I am truly more optimistic than ever and I know that by working together, the United States and Ghana, alongside the Diaspora and the people of this beautiful continent, will share and share our future for the better.”
Ms Harris is on a week-long trip to Africa that would take her to Tanzania and Zambia in a bid to deepen U.S-Africa relations.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD
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