Ghana–United States relations
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Ghana – United States relations have generally been friendly since Ghana's independence, except for a period of strained relations during the later years of the Nkrumah regime. Ghana was the first country to which United States Peace Corps volunteers were sent in 1961. Ghana and the United States are signatories to twenty agreements and treaties covering such matters as agricultural commodities, aviation, defense, economic and technical cooperation, education, extradition, postal matters, telecommunications, and treaty obligations. The refusal of the United States to join the International Cocoa Agreement, given Ghana's heavy dependence on cocoa exports to earn hard currency, is the most serious bilateral issue between the two countries.
According to the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, 83% of Ghanaians viewed the U.S. favorably in 2002, declining slightly down to 80% in 2007, according to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 79% of Ghanaians approve of U.S. leadership, with 12% disapproving and 10% uncertain, and in a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 82% of Ghanaians view U.S. influence positively, the highest rating for any surveyed African country.
Relations between the United States and Ghana were particularly rocky in the early 1980s, apparently because of Ghana's relations with Libya. The PNDC government restored diplomatic relations with Libya shortly after coming to power. Libya came to the aid of Ghana soon afterward by providing much-needed economic assistance. Libya also has extensive financial holdings in Ghana. Jerry Rawlings supported Libya's position that two Libyans accused of bombing a Pan American Airlines flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 should be tried in a neutral country rather than in Britain or the United States.
Relations between the United States and Ghana were further strained by a series of diplomatic incidents in the mid-1980s. In July 1985, a distant relative of Rawlings, Michael Soussoudis, was arrested in the United States and charged with espionage. Despite Soussoudis's conviction, he was exchanged the following December for several known United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents in Accra, but not before diplomats had been expelled in both Accra and Washington. In March 1986, a Panamanian-registered ship carrying arms and a number of mercenaries and United States veterans of the Vietnam War was seized off the coast of Brazil. The PNDC charged that the arms and soldiers were destined for Ghana and that they had been financed by a Ghanaian dissident with links to the CIA. During their trial, several crew members admitted that the charges were substantially true. Although they were convicted and imprisoned, three subsequently escaped with what the PNDC alleged was CIA assistance.
In spite of these incidents, relations between the United States and Ghana had improved markedly by the late 1980s. Former United States president Jimmy Carter visited Ghana in 1986 and again in 1988 and was warmly received by the PNDC. His Global 2000 agricultural program, which is quite popular with Ghanaian farmers, is helping promote good relations with the United States. In 1989 the United States forgave US$114 million of Ghana's foreign debt, part of a larger debt relief effort by Western nations. The United States has strongly favored Ghana's economic and political reform policies, and since the birth of the Fourth Republic and Ghana's return to constitutional rule, has offered assistance to help Ghana institutionalize and consolidate its steps toward democratic governance. In fiscal year 1994, United States development aid totaled about $38 million; in addition, the United States supplied more than $16 million in food aid.
Thousands of Ghanaians have been educated in the United States. Close relations are maintained between educational and scientific institutions, and cultural links, particularly between Ghanaians and African Americans, are strong.
Through the U.S. International Visitor Program, Ghanaian parliamentarians and other government officials have become acquainted with U.S. congressional and state legislative practices and have participated in programs designed to address other issues of interest. The U.S. and Ghanaian militaries have cooperated in numerous joint training exercises, culminating with Ghanaian participation in the African Crisis Response Initiative, an international activity in which the U.S. facilitates the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. U.S.-Ghanaian military cooperation continues under the new African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program; Ghana was one of the first militaries to receive ACOTA training in early 2003. In addition, there is an active bilateral International Military Education and Training program. Additionally, Ghana is the site of a U.S.-European Command-funded Exercise Reception Facility that was established to facilitate troop deployments for exercises or crisis response within the region. The facility is a direct result of Ghana's partnership with the United States on a Fuel Hub Initiative. Ghana is one of few African nations selected for the State Partnership Program, which will promote greater economic ties with U.S. institutions, including the National Guard.
The United States is among Ghana's principal trading partners. The Office of the President of Ghana worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Accra to establish an American Chamber of Commerce to continue to develop closer economic ties in the private sector. Major U.S. companies operating in the country include ACS, CMS Energy, Coca-Cola, S.C. Johnson, Ralston Purina, StarKist, A.H. Robins, Sterling, Pfizer, IBM, 3M, Motorola, Stewart & Stevenson, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and National Cash Register (NCR). Several U.S. firms recently made or are considering investments in Ghana, primarily in gold mining, wood products, and petroleum. U.S. mining giant Newmont entered Ghana's mining sector in 2004 and intends to invest up to $1 billion. In late 1997, Nuevo Petroleum concluded an oil exploration agreement accounting for the last of Ghana's offshore mineral rights zones. Several other U.S. oil companies also are engaged in offshore exploration, but so far with little success.
U.S. development assistance to Ghana in fiscal year 2007 was implemented by USAID, the African Development Foundation, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and others. U.S. development assistance to Ghana in fiscal year 2007 totaled more than $55.1 million, with programs in small farmer competitiveness, health, including HIV/AIDS and maternal child health, education, and democracy/governance. Ghana was the first country in the world to accept Peace Corps volunteers, and the program remains one of the largest. Currently, there are more than 150 volunteers in Ghana. Almost half work in education, and the others in agro-forestry, small business development, health education, water sanitation, and youth development. Ghana's $547 million compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation is the most recent achievement in the U.S.-Ghanaian development partnership.
Principal U.S. officials include
- Ambassador—Pamela E. Bridgewater
- Deputy chief of mission—Sue K. Brown
- Director, USAID Mission—Dennis Weller, Acting
- Defense attaché—Lt Col Benjamin Moody
- Foreign Commercial Service—Diane Jones
- Public affairs officer—Chris Hodges
- Political chief—Brian Shukan
- Economic chief—Susan Driano
- Management counselor—Christopher Stillman
- Consul—Michael Evans
- Deputy consul—Jeffrey Graham
The U.S. embassy in Accra.
- Ghanaian Americans
- Foreign relations of Ghana
- Foreign relations of the United States
- Embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C.
- Owusu, Maxwell. "Nigeria". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Opinion of the United States Pew Research Center
- U.S. Global Leadership Project Report – 2012 Gallup
- 2013 World Service Poll BBC