The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II arrived in Washington,DC on Tuesday on the special invitation of the President of the World Bank Group, Mr. James Wolfensohn. Accompanied by his wife Lady Julia and the Atipehene Lawyer Arnold Prempeh, the Asantehene was welcomed at Dulles Washington airport by senior World Bank officials led by Dr. Kwabena Amankwah-Ayeh, urban development specialist and former economic advisor to President Nelson Mandela, the Juabenhene Nana Otuo Siriboe, Mr. Kojo Yankah media consultant to the Manhyia Palace and from the Embassy of Ghana, messrs Isaac Aggrey and Ivor Agyeman-Duah, Acting Ambassador and minister counselor of public affairs respectively. On the request of the Bank's President, the Asantehene will present a development project for the Bank's likely funding at his official working visit at the Bank on Wednesday.
A programme released from the Bank to the Embassy in Washington, DC has it that the Asantehene's presentation will center on water and sanitation. He will in the afternoon address the over 30 Ghanaian professional community working at the Bank.
The highlight of Wednesday's official work is a high-profile dinner organised by the Wolfensohns with the Asantehene as special guest. Other guests include Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, H.E. Ambassador David Manning (British Ambassador to the United States) and Mrs. Manning, Mr. Vernon Jordan, distinguished Washington,DC attorney and special aid to President Bill Clinton as well as Jim Lehrer of Newshour with Jim Lehrer fame, Acting Ambassador Isaac Aggrey and Mr. Samuel Bodman , Deputy Secretary of the United States Treasury.
Mr. and Mrs Wolfensohn will fly Otumfuo and his wife Julia in their private aircraft to their ranch in Wyoming after the working visit for a week's holiday. Relationship between Manhyia Palace and the World Bank started over four years ago when the Asantehene's proposal of involving traditional rulers in development and building their capacities for leadership was accepted by Mr. Wolfensohn. It led to the Bank's first dealing with a traditional authority anywhere in the world and has since brought Manhyia Palace some financial and technical support. Mr. Wolfensohn has praised the Asantehene for his style of pro-development growth leadership and said the replication of support for traditional authorities in other parts of Africa would be determined by the success of the Manhyia experiment. It will, if successful, be one of the innovative legacies of Mr. Wolfensohn at the Bank according to Bank officials.