From: Beatrice Akua Asamani, GNA Special Correspondent, Atlanta, USA
Atlanta (USA) Sept. 28, GNA - Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has urged American investors to bury their prejudices and the misconceptions about Africa and to explore the vast business potentials of the Continent.
He said: "I know that it takes a hard time for some of you investors to ever consider travelling to Africa to even see the rich potentials we have. You probably have not made up your mind because of the misery, poverty, degradation, wars and diseases that you see regularly on your television screens.
"I do not deny that these scenes exist in Africa; but I would like to challenge you all by saying that if you have seen the ugly side of Africa, come over to see Africa the beautiful." The Asantehene was addressing a grand durbar, organized to showcase the rich culture of the Ashanti Kingdom and other ethnic groups of Ghana, to the American public, to climax Ghana EXPO 2004, held at Atlanta, Georgia.
Vice President Aliu Mahama was among the large crowd, including many African Americans and various Ghanaian ethnic groups, which attended the durbar.
The immaculately dressed King, in splendid Kente, adorned with gold ornaments from head to toe was received with cheers as he gorgeously proceeded to his created throne amidst the vibrating sounds of drums and 'atenteben.'
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said Ghana's private sector was well poised to receive investments and joint ventures based on trust and sound business ethics.
"It is not only through the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) that we can do business," he said. "Our rich agricultural lands in Ghana are available for agribusiness. We have virgin coastal and forest regions ready for serious eco-tourism. We have juicy spots for hotels and restaurants and of course we have wonderful and hospitable people to welcome you all to Ghana."
The Asantehene called for the strengthening of socio-cultural ties between Africans and African Americans and invited those in the Diaspora to attend PANAFEST 2005 in July, which he said offered the platform for siblings, which had been separated by historical circumstances to re-unite.
"We have not at any moment felt like strangers in Atlanta," he said. "It is like being in Ashanti Ghana. I recognize several features of people that I would consider part of my family in Ghana."
He commended the leadership and the people of Atlanta for their warm hospitality, saying it had justified the choice of their city for the event.
"Atlanta is a business hub, with historical, cultural and spiritual ties to Africa, Ghana, to our motherland," he said. The four-day EXPO, organised by Africa EXPO Company with the collaboration of the Government ended on Sunday.