President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on the United States (US) to assist Ghana to develop its commercial and industrial base to take full advantage of the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA).
The US, he said, should stretch out and help to empower the country to enjoy the benefits of the initiative. Ghana qualifies to export 6,500 different commodities to the US market under AGOA but does not have the base to produce to meet the American market standards.
President Kufuor was interacting with a US Congressional delegation led by Senator James Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, at the Castle, Osu. They were in Accra to reinforce the good relations and expand the frontiers of bilateral co-operation between the two countries.
President Kufuor acknowledged that the US has been quite friendly and supportive of Ghana, citing among others things, the 547-million-dollar grant to help modernise its agriculture under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the recent launch by the US Treasury Secretary of a 250-million-dollar OPIC investment fund to boost the private sector, education assistance and HIV-AIDS support package. The good work must continue.
The two countries should continue to work towards improving their relations he said, adding that, the delegation should get the entire Congress to appreciate the country's prospects.
President Kufuor, who is the Chairman of the African Union (AU), assured them of the continent's commitment to uplift and mainstream itself into globalisation and said this however demanded peace and stability.
He said the US therefore needed to co-operate more with it on the defence front, to help Africa achieve peace and security in its trouble spots.
Touching on the proposed deployment of the UN Hybrid Force in the Sudan Darfur Region, he asked the US to help provide the peacekeepers with the right equipment and logistics to bring peace to the people in the area, which he said, had suffered for far too long.
Senator Inhofe, praised President Kufuor for his good leadership saying; 'We have watched your leadership in the past seven years and you have clearly proven to be the leader of West Africa.' He said they were also impressed with the level of infrastructure development in the country, mentioning in particular Accra, the capital city.
The leader of the Congressional delegation said they were happy with their relationship with Ghana and pledged to continue to build on it.
President Kufuor later granted audience to African Trades Union Leaders, who were in the country for the formation of a single labour organisation for the continent, the International Trades Union Confederation, Africa Region. He counselled the new Organisation to put in place structures that would reinforce the strength of labour for the benefit of all.
The central objective for the merger of labour unions should be to work to strengthen labour and humanity. Government and labour, he said, must also hold together to move the society forward.