Ghana has accepted the invitation from the United States to join the Atlantic Basin Cooperation as a founding member.
It accepted the offer because as a coastal country bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it recognises that no country can solve the cross-boundary challenges in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from maritime security to environmental degradation, alone.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the announcement at the dinner held in honour of the visiting US Vice-President, Kamala Abena Harris, at the Jubilee House last Monday night as part of her three-day official visit to Ghana.
The dinner attracted 300 guests, made up of the crème de la crème of the Ghanaian society, including VicePresident Dr Mahamud Bawumia, former President J. A. Kufuor, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah; the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II; the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, some Ministers of State and Members of Parliament, as well as the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Albert Dwumfour.
President Akufo-Addo arrived for the dinner in the company of Ms Harris, while the First Lady, Rebecca AkufoAddo, was in the company of America’s Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff.
In attendance were the Ghana Police Band, Lumina and other Ghanaian artistes, who treated the dinner guests to beautiful renditions of Ghanaian and American songs.
The US delegation included chief executives of giant businesses, owners of media organisations, civil rights activists, artistes, academics, diplomats and law makers.
Expatiating on the reasons for accepting the invitation, President Akufo-Addo said it would provide the platform to enhance cooperation to develop shared approaches to Atlantic Ocean issues and build on shared capacities and experiences for the benefit of the Atlantic Ocean region.
He said the country, therefore, welcomed the invitation and committed to exploring the numerous opportunities offered by the laudable initiative on Atlantic cooperation.
He gave an assurance that Ghana would continue to collaborate with the United States at the bilateral and the multilateral levels to find solutions to challenges.
Those challenges, he explained, included widespread poverty, irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, including discrimination against women, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, as well as climate change and its attendant impact on the environment and livelihoods.
Reiterating a matter he had always touched on when meeting global leaders, UN reforms, the President said Ghana and Africa in general were committed to their common position on UN reform, based on the Ezuwini consensus, and were anxious that the matter of UN reform would find its way back quickly to the centre of the global agenda.
He expressed delight at what he called the progress being made on the reform of the UN Security Council which had been given a great boost by the decision of the US President, Joe Biden, to embrace the reform process, adding that “this is the first time a US President has explicitly done so”.
He expressed the hope that the leaders of the other three P5 members of the Security Council would soon follow the lead, just as French President Emmanuel Macron had done.
“The time has come for the globalcommunity to undertake this muchneeded reform which will bring greater effectiveness to the work of the UnitedNations and the Security Council in the
maintenance of international peace and security,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was honoured by the presence of the first female Vice-President of the United States, a person of African descent, and that Ghana was also the first port of call on her first official visit to Africa.
“We should never forget the sentiments of that legendary Jamaican reggae musician, Peter Tosh, who said ‘And I don't care where you come from;
as long as you are a Black man, you are an African,’” he quoted, attracting thunderous applause from the guests.
With humour, he announced that since Ms Harris was born on a Tuesday, he hoped she would not mind if Ghanaians gave her the local name Abena, which was given to all females born on Tuesdays.
Ms Harris said President AkufoAddo was “personally responsible for welcoming and encouraging the connection of the Diaspora to this continent”, and that because of him hundreds of thousands of Black Americans and members of the Diaspora came to Ghana to participate in the Year of Return.
“Because you are a student of history, you take great joy in reminding us all where we come from, but always with a glorious vision of where we also know we can be,” she added.
The US Vice-President said because of President Akufo-Addo, members of the Diaspora had travelled to Ghana to remember the history of slavery, with others coming to Ghana to honour their lineage and understand their ancestry.
She said through the Beyond the Return, the successor of the Year of Return, many more have been visiting each year.
She gladly accepted the local given her, to the applause of the guests.