President John Agyekum Kufuor has affirmed the country's commitment to working towards the promotion of peace and security on the continent. Addressing a six-man US Congressional delegation at the Castle last Tuesday, President Kufuor, who is also the Chairman of AU, said the country was prepared to stretch out to the whole of Africa to help develop it.
President Kufuor said the continent had suffered a lot and needed to effectively address difficulties in areas such as Darfur. “We take it as our responsibility to help out and we count on our friends like the US for support,” the President said.
He said although the UN had decided to send a hybrid force to Darfur, sending troops there without the necessary support could mean sending the soldiers to the slaughterhouse, saying that should not be the case.
President Kufuor said the US government had been friendly to Ghana and Africa as a whole and commended President George Bush for his contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He said Ghana was fortunate to have been chosen to benefit from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) instituted by the US government.
He said although AGOA was a laudable initiative, the country had been unable to take full advantage of it because it did not have the industrial capacity to do so and appealed to the US government to help develop the country's industrial capacity to enable it to take full advantage of the initiative.
The Leader of the delegation, Senator James Inhofe, who is also a member of the Armed Services Committee of the US Congress, praised the President for his visionary leadership and described him as the pride of West Africa.
Senator Inhofe said although the President's term of office would end in January 2009, the US looked forward to a continuous relationship beyond the presidency.
Earlier in the day, the delegation had called on the Minister of Defence, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah. In a related development, President Kufuor has underlined the need for labour unions on the continent to work in partnership with governments to attain development targets.
He said it would be difficult for countries on the continent to attain their development goals if the government and the labour front did not move together with a common purpose and vision.
Receiving a delegation of the Africa Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and associates from the international labour community, the President said the days of isolation were over and it was now time for an effective private-public sector partnership.
The ITUC is a new trade union formed from the merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Union (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) at the global level.
The delegation was in Accra for a congress that witnessed the merger of the African Regional Organisation of the ICFTU and the Democratic Organisation of African Workers Trade Unions (DOAWTU), which is the African regional organisation of the WCL.
President Kufuor said the world was now witnessing an era of globalisation and there was the need to be one another's keeper.
He commended the two different organisations for merging into one body and said that was a reflection of the times.
He said the central objective of the union should be the promotion of the good of humanity, adding that Ghana was proud to be the venue for such a historic merger.
The Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, explained that the merger of the two organisations was in pursuance of a resolution passed in 2005 and a follow-up merger conference held last year.
He said after the merger of the two global organisations, it was just prudent that their African regional organisations also merged to pursue a common vision.
Story by Daniel Nkrumah