The United States Embassy in Accra last Tuesday (July 4), marked the country’s independence celebration with colourful and fun-filled event on its compound.
An in-person event for the first time in three years, the event attracted a host of dignitaries including some American citizens resident in Ghana who showed up complementing their dressing with a touch of their national colours of red, blue and white.
The in-person attendance of the annual celebration had not been held since 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before a display of fireworks to climax the celebration, members of the audience were treated to jazz music by the Topside Brassband and a colour party parade by the US Navy.
The guests list included government officials, heads of United Nations (UN) agencies, members from the academia; security personnel, leaders of political parties, traditional rulers, business leaders and members of the diplomatic corps thronged the embassy to participate in the celebrations.
Among the guests were the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, former President, John Mahama, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey.
Others were the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Mr Charles Abani, the UNESCO Representative in Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo, the Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Commissioner of Police (COP) Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, and the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia E. Palmer, addressing the gathering, expressed her excitement at the presence of the guests.
She said the event was not just to celebrate America’s independence, but the ties that bound the US and Ghana.
“It’s a particular pleasure to welcome you all to the embassy after years of COVID-induced virtual celebrations.
It’s not quite the same as doing it in person.
So we’re really, really glad you’re here,” she said.
She said what made the year amazing was the conclusion of work on a $390 million Millennium Challenge compact which built a power infrastructure that would make major contributions to Ghana’s growth.
Ms Palmer said the depth of the two countries’ long-standing security partnership was highlighted when Ghana and the US hosted Flintlock, a major military exercise that involves 29 nation militaries and “soon we will be commissioning two ships and handing over a pier and millions of dollars of equipment to the special boat squadron”.
The third, she said, was when the US Vice-President, Kamala Harris, visited Ghana, announcing major programmes on security, digitalisation and women’s economic empowerment, among other things.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the day marked the spirit of freedom, liberty and independence and that those attributes were what countries like Ghana aspired to attain and sustain for its democracy.
“We come together to celebrate the birth of a nation that has stood as a beacon of hope for millions around the world,” he said.
“This occasion offers a great opportunity to strengthen the bilateral ties between Ghana and the United States of America.
As partners in development, we look for each other’s interests for the benefit of our citizens.
“We recognise the countless contributions of Ghanaians and Americans alike, who have dedicated themselves to building bridges of understanding, promoting cultural exchange and fostering cooperation in various fields,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the US had worked hand-in-hand with Ghana to strengthen democratic institutions and provide inclusive governance, adding that economic cooperation had also been a vital aspect of our relationship.
“The United States has been a significant trade …partner for Ghana, contributing to economic growth and job creation.
American investors have and continued to play crucial roles in driving economic development in sectors such as energy, agriculture, manufacturing and technology.
I am informed that in 2022, Ghana-US bilateral trade reached $3.7 billion,” he said.
Additionally, he said the United States supported Ghana with $48 million in security assistance in 2022 from maritime security, intelligence, peacekeeping, redeployment training, border security and national disaster preparedness.