By Edmund Mingle
Friday, 30 November 2007
President John Agyekum Kufuor has asked the government of the United States of America to consider going beyond the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to provide support towards developing the industrial potential of the country.
He said it was only by having a developed industrial base that Ghana and other African countries could effectively participate and benefit from the facilities under AGOA.
The President told a Congressional delegation from the US that called on him at the Castle, Osu, in Accra on Tuesday that Ghana is appreciative of the support, but called for support in developing "our industrial minds."
AGOA, a US Trade Act that significantly enhances US market access for currently 39 Sub-Saharan African countries, grants the export of 6,400 duty free commodities from Africa to the US.
But President Kufuor stressed the need for the capacities of industries in Ghana and other African countries to produce more for export to the US market in taking advantage of AGOA.
Touching on security on the continent, President Kufuor, who is also the African Union Chairman, called for cooperation between Africa and the US, especially improving peace keeping operations in conflict zones on the continent, such as Sudan and Somalia.
"Africa truly needs cooperation on the security front," the President said.
He urged the six-member delegation from the US Congress to assist in getting the entire Congress "to appreciate the potential in here" so that Congress will not hesitate to approve any support facility for Africa.
He noted that Africa is lifting herself out of poverty and conflict and will count on the support of her friends such as the US.
Senator James Inhofe, a member of the Armed Services Committee of the US Senate, who led the delegation, commended President Kufuor for contributing to the progress of Ghana and the AU.
He said the delegation earlier met with the Defence Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah to discuss areas of need for the country, and hoped that there would be some collaboration to address the identified challenges.
Also at the Castle was a delegation of African trades union leaders and executives of the newly founded International Trades Union Organisation (Africa Regional Organisation).
Led by Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, the delegation was at the Castle to inform the President of the formation of the new union which is now the main labour union for Africa.
The new union is a merger of two major trade unions namely the International Confederation of Free Trade Union with the African Regional Organisation as its African wing and the World Confederation of Labour, having its African wing as the Democratic Organisation of African Workers Trade Union.
Mr. Adu-Amankwah, told the President that the merger reflects happenings around the globe in which unions are merging to consolidate the labour front and to improve the welfare of workers.
President Kufuor congratulated them on the merger and commended them for the objective of helping to protect and improve the welfare of workers.
He was particularly happy that the merger took place in Ghana, and reminded them of the need to partner government to advance the wellbeing of the labour force saying public-private partnership has become vital for socio-economic development.