Ambassador Kirk is in Accra, Ghana this week on his first trip to this West African country as United States Trade Representative. Since Ghana's independence over a half century ago, the United States has enjoyed a strong partnership with Ghana -- which continues to grow stronger to this day. This is why President Obama visited Ghana during his first official trip to Africa as President of the United States three years ago. And now Ambassador Kirk is visiting Ghana to focus attention on the growing trade and investment relationship between the two countries.
He kicked off the day today by visiting Ghana's Ministry of Trade and Industry to meet with Trade Minister Hannah Tetteh. During the meeting they discussed both countries' mutual interest in considering the possibility of a U.S.-Ghana bilateral investment treaty (BIT), which would fit well into Ghana’s strategy of attracting private investment and diversifying its economy. It would also represent a major milestone in our bilateral economic relationship. A BIT with the United States would send a powerful signal to American and other foreign investors that Ghana is committed to adopting and maintaining a favorable investment climate. Ambassador Kirk and Minister Tetteh have had a strong, productive working relationship over the last few years and they expressed their mutual interest in continuing to work together as they explore the possibility of pursuing a U.S.-Ghana BIT.
Ambassador Kirk then met with George Aboagye, Chairman of Ghana's Investment Promotion Centre to discuss options for increasing investment in Ghana. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ghana was 974 million dollars in 2006 -- the last year for which data is available. However, Chairman Aboagye mentioned Ghana's eagerness to expand its range of U.S. investment beyond oil exploration to include energy services and non-energy sectors.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and USAID West Africa Trade Hub Director
Vanessa Adams take questions from members of the press at the West Africa Trade
Hub in Accra, Ghana.
Following meetings with Ghanaian government officials, Ambassador Kirk visited USAID's West Africa Trade Hub in Accra. The Trade Hub focuses on economic development and job creation by providing technical assistance and training to export-ready West African companies -- which has helped to significantly increase their competitiveness. Since 2007, the Trade Hub has facilitated over 100 million dollars in exports from the region and trained more than 7,000 people in business skills. Ambassador Kirk met with Trade Hub officials and their West African partners to discuss the Trade Hub's success over the last eight years in breaking down barriers to trade within the region and increasing the skills and competitiveness of many West African companies.