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22.11.2004 General News

Ghana’s Ambassador Visits Navajo Nation

By Embassy of Ghana, Washington DC
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On November 15, 2004, His Excellency Ambassador Fritz Poku, Ghana's Ambassador to the US undertook a two-day official visit to the Navajo Nation, at the invitation of Mr. Joe Shirley Jr., President of the Navajo Nation, at the capital, Window Rock, Arizona. The Ambassador was accompanied by Mr. Isaac Aggrey, Deputy Chief of Mission and Mrs. Jennifer Lartey, Economic Counselor.

This follows a special delegation sent to the Ghana Mission in Washington D.C by the President of Navajo Nation, led by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Patrick J. Sandoval, during which a presentation was made on how the Navajo Nation had used Information, Communications Technologies (ICT's) and renewable energy resources to improve the quality of life of their people. The Navajo Nation is known to be the most successful in the use of these technologies, under the leadership of President Shirley, in areas such as e-government, distance learning and security.`

In the course of the visit, the Ambassador held discussions with President Shirley, Vice President Frank Dayish and several members of his Cabinet, in furtherance of cooperation and partnership between the Navajo Nation and the Ghana Embassy. The Ambassador and his Staff had the opportunity to visit a few of the 110 Chapters (Districts). They were able to see how satellite and wireless technology have been used to implement e-governance, a program which the Ghana government is in the process of developing throughout the country.

They also visited the local Navajo Nation programs that support and assist clientele of families and communities, through direct assistance tillage, cultivation and planting services as well as Head Start schools. The Head Start schools have a vocation to maintain language, traditions, family and cultural values, in the face of challenges posed by interconnectivity. The delegation also had the opportunity to witness first-hand the use of solar energy to power ICT systems and water pumping systems, in support of irrigation and livestock.

The President of the Navajo Nation and the Ambassador discussed the many commonalities that the Navajo Nation and Ghana share in bringing sustainable development to the doorstep of grass root communities. The Ambassador expressed his gratitude for the invitation extended to him by President Shirley and hoped that the President of Navajo Nation would reciprocate. President Shirley expressed his intention to visit Ghana to promote trade relation between Navajo and the people of Ghana, to foster closer relationships and to share experiences.

Present during the visit were Mr. Thomas Oduro-Kwaten, a Ghanaian Social Entrepreneur and President of Aessel Development Group Inc., and Mr. David Stephens, CEO and Co-Founder of OnSat Native American Services, who in conjunction with President Shirley has been instrumental in the development of ICT programs in the 110 Chapter Houses (Districts). Also present was Mr. Gerardo Zepeda-Bermudez, OnSat Vice President, Global Operations.

The visit also enabled the Ambassador to familiarize himself with the initiative by OnSat to launch the Golden Triangle of ICT for Development of Emerging Economies, involving Navajo Nation, Ghana and Brazil. The Golden Triangle is intended to implement a network of satellite based hubs in those three cites.

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