February 19th, 2008 02:23 EST
Ghanaians anticipate President Bush visit
By Peter Clottey
Ghanaians are reportedly excited about the arrival today (Tuesday) of United States President George Bush in the nation’s capital, Accra as part of his five-nation Africa tour. While in Ghana, Mr. Bush is expected to hold bilateral talks with President John Kufuor, including developmental issues, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Africa Union, regional security, and Millennium Development Goals, humanitarian issues.
Some political analysts say the U.S president’s visit comes at a time when relations between the two countries are at an all-time high, with President Kufuor meeting with President Bush at least five times in the last three years. Oboshie Sai-Kofi is Ghana’s information minister. She tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Accra that Ghanaians are ready to welcome President Bush with open arms.
“Ever since the football Ghana 2008 ended, we’ve been waiting impatiently for this day because it’s been the next major item on our calendar coordination. And today, we are expecting His Excellency President Bush and Mrs. Bush and his entourage this evening. Ghana is waiting with some anticipation and some excitement for this visit. You know it’s only the second time we had a U.S president visit,” Sai-Kofi pointed out.
She said although there has been mixed reaction on radio talk shows, most people are excited about President Bush’s visit.
“Ghanaians have developed this very high sense of political analysis and discourse. So, we have a mixture of feelings; we have a few people who are not at all enthused about the president’s visit. But the majority of people I have heard on our air waves think it’s a very good thing and it’s making them feel very proud to be Ghanaians at a time when the U.S president is visiting only a few African countries,” she said.
Sai-Kofi said bilateral cooperation among other developmental issues would be on the agenda during close door meetings between President Kufuor and President Bush.
“I would expect that they would discuss several things. As you know relations between the United States and Ghana are at what I will call an all-time high currently. There are a lot of initiatives of the current administration in the U.S, which are geared towards Africa’s development, and we’ve been poised to take advantage of them. Indeed we have already had access to quite a few of these programs that has proved very successful; I will talk about the Millennium challenge Account for example, and then His Excellency’s intervention on HIV/AIDS. And then there is the AGOA (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act). Last year we had a fifth AGOA forum here, and that is really working quite well and the second forum were focused on taking out some of the bottlenecks and making things better. I want to assume that these are some of the things that they will discuss and how to deepen the relationship and intensify the mutual cooperation between the two countries,” Sai-Kofi noted.
She said one of Ghana’s foreign policy principles is to be a friend of all.
“As a national perspective and from the government side, we have wanted to deepen good relations with our many global partners as possible. So, for us we take everybody on their own merit and value and the U.S is a very valued partner of ours. So, for us we are saying Akwaaba (welcome) to President Bush and his entourage, we are waiting for this evening and we intend to make sure that they have a very satisfactory visit,” she said.