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Ghana - US Relations

The United States established diplomatic relations with Ghana in 1957 following Ghana's independence from the United Kingdom. The United States and Ghana share a long history promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Ghana has set an example for countries throughout Africa in promoting governance and regional stability. The United States has enjoyed good relations with Ghana at a non-official, personal level since Ghana's independence. 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.

Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah made an official visit to Washington July 23–26, 1958. His performance at UN session 18 October 1958 made most unfortunate impression in the US because it reflected a complete lack of appreciation of Western position on almost every issue and, while consistently critical of West, failed to find fault with flagrant unilateral Soviet intervention in Congo. By actions as well as words Nkrumah seemed determined to abet the Soviet cause.

This was a reflection of Ghana’s determination to pursue more actively its policy of positive neutralism (like India, it sought political support and material benefits from any source so long as it felt this can be done without dangerous involvement). It was not a turning away from the West. It was Ghana’s idea of wide angle vision as it seeks political friends and commercial bargains wherever they may be found.

Especially in the Congo, US-Ghanaian policies clashed head on. Nkrumah had hoped to dominate the Congo as a first step toward achieving his Pan-African goals. Lumumba had assured him that the Congo would join the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union. This hope was dashed by UN action, supported by the US; as a result, by 1962 he moved closer and closer to the USSR.

There was a growing feeling in Ghana, which Nkrumah shared, that USSR as well as USA can be friendly and helpful to Ghana and that best of both economic systems can be used in Ghana. The United States offered and provided major financial aid to Nkrumah for Ghana's largest development project, the Volta River dam and power complex. A short time before his over-throw, in contrast to his usual- anti-American tones, Nkrumahs trongly praised the United States for this assistance.

In October 1965 Nkrumah published a book entitled "Neo-Colonialism—The Last Stage of Imperialism", and gave copies to African chiefs of state attending OAU conference at Accra. The book contained unmistakably hostile charges against USG motives, actions, and intentions and is clear and comprehensive statement of Nkrumah’s fundamental anti-Western, anti-US bias. His charges against Peace Corps, USIA and CIA have already intensified Ghanaian press attacks on these agencies and constitute official sanction for continuing attacks.

The National Liberation Council (NLC) overthrew Nkrumah's government in a military coup on February 24, 1966. At the time, Nkrumah was in China. He took up asylum in Guinea, where he remained until he died in 1972. Some Africans quickly cited US aid as evidence that "the CIA overthrew Nkrumah" - but it was apparent to many Africans that it was an insult to Ghanasians to say that a hungry and politically oppressed African needed some American agent to tell him he is unhappy.

John Stockwell, a CIA renegade, revealed in 1978 that agents within the Ghana military and Police were bribed to execute the coup, which overthrew Nkrumah and subsequently led to his demise. Seymour Hersh reported 09 May 1978 that "The Central Intelligence Agency advised and supported group of dissident army officers who overthrew the regime of President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana in February 1966, first-hand intelligence sources said yesterday. The agency's role in the coup d'état was carried out without prior approval from the high-level interagency group in Washington that monitors C.I.A. clandestine activities, these sources said. That group, known in 1966 as the 303 Committee, had specifically rejected a previous C.I.A. request seeking authority to plot against Mr. Nkrumah... Details of the agency's purported role in the overthrow of Mr. Nkrumah became available after John Stockwell, a former C.I.A. operative, briefly described it in a footnote to his newly published book, “In Search of Enemies”.... many C.I.A. operatives in Africa considered the agency's role in the overthrow of Mr. Nkrumah to have been pivotal. At least some officials in Washington headquarters apparently agreed..." The CIA was said to have played a vital role in the coup (Howard T. Banes, the station chief in Accra at the time, was quickry promoted to a senior position in the agency and given a medal) and was rewarded by the Ghanaians by being permitted (for a fee of at least $100,000) to fly sensitive Soviet military equipment to the US.

After it took power, the NLC looked to the United States for aid as well as for diplomatic support in the vital conferences that rescheduled payment of Ghana's foreign debts. The image of the United States was bolstered by the fact that almost none of Ghana's debt burden was due to the United States, that the United States support for the Volta River Project had been under terms beneficial to the country as well as to the investors, and that popular attitudes toward, and personal relations with, United States citizens had remained friendly.

In early March 1995, President Jerry Rawlings paid an official visit to Washington, where he met with President Bill Clinton. The two presidents discussed a variety of topics, including regional stability in West Africa and trade and investment in Ghana. Clinton noted Ghana's prominence in international peacekeeping missions, especially in Liberia, and pledged continued United States support for Ghanaian efforts at regional conflict resolution. Rawlings's visit was the first to the United States by a Ghanaian head of state in at least thirty years.

Ghana relations are excellent and wide-ranging. The U.S. Mission in Ghana is the third-largest U.S. Mission in Africa and includes the oldest Peace Corps program in the world and a $55 million bilateral USAID program. The U.S. also has strong commercial, political, military-military, and people-to-people relations with Ghana.

Through the US 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. facilitated the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. U.S.-Ghanaian military cooperation continues under the successor 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. Ghana also 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 promote greater economic ties with U.S. institutions, including the National Guard.

The United States is among Ghana's principal trading partners. There is an active American Chamber of Commerce in Accra. Major U.S. companies operating in the country include Newmont, Cargill, ADM, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko, DHL, FedEx, UPS, KPMG, ACS, Coca Cola, S.C. Johnson, Ralston Purina, Star-Kist, A.H. Robins, Sterling, Pfizer, IBM, 3M, Motorola, Stewart & Stevenson, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, General Electric, and National Cash Register (NCR).

The discovery of major oil reserves in deep water in the Gulf of Guinea has led numerous international petroleum exploration firms to enter the Ghanaian market, and many other firms involved in oil and gas auxiliary services express an interest in starting operations in the country. Mining companies and agri-businesses from the U.S. increased their investments in Ghana recently. Political stability, overall sound economic management, a low crime rate, competitive wages, and an educated, English-speaking workforce have increased Ghana's potential to serve as a West African hub for American businesses.

U.S. development assistance to Ghana is implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and others. USAID-managed development assistance to Ghana has supported the country in improving the power sector, increasing food security, enhancing basic health care, increasing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaians. The West Africa Trade Hub, located in Accra, provides technical assistance to help small businesspersons to grow their businesses and access new customers in the United States and the West African region. The Peace Corps has a large program in Ghana, with volunteers working in education, agriculture, and health (including HIV/AIDS, malaria, sanitation, and nutrition).

The United States and Ghana work together on various defense and law enforcement issues. Both countries’ militaries cooperate in numerous joint training exercises through U.S. Africa Command. The United States and Ghana have a bilateral International Military Education and Training program, a Foreign Military Financing program, and numerous humanitarian affairs projects, including a relationship between the government of Ghana and the North Dakota National Guard under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense State Partnership Program. Ghana continues to participate in the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program, in which the United States facilitates the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. Ghana is a partner country for the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership and the Security Governance Initiative. These programs seek to address security sector governance challenges in Ghana and enhance Ghana’s ability to rapidly deploy peacekeepers.

Ghana is also a priority country under the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI). Through WACSI programs, the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) aims to help the government of Ghana to: 1) build capacity for complex investigations and case packages on transnational crimes and drug trafficking incidents; 2) conduct fair trials of transnational criminals and drug traffickers; and 3) combat rising drug abuse. In furtherance of these objectives, INL has supported institutional development across the criminal justice sector.

The Office of Defense, Military, Naval, and Air Attaché (DMNAA) of the Embassy serves the interests of Ghana Government by promoting national defense issues between Ghana and the U.S. The main objective of the department is to uphold the Mission and Vision of the Ministry of Defense in Ghana through effective harmonization, monitoring and assessment of defense policies and programs as well as supporting and justifying Ghana’s defense policies in the US. The Department also provides the Ministry of Defense in Ghana with information on US Military and Political issues, fosters and strengthens continues relationship between Ghana and the US and also serves as the Ghana’s Ambassador’s adviser on defense issues among others.

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Page last modified: 11-04-2017 18:44:26 ZULU