For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 15, 2008
President Bush and President Kufuor of Ghana Participate in Arrival Ceremony
Welcoming the President of the Republic of Ghana
9:11 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning. President Kufuor and Mrs. Kufuor, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the White House. (Applause.) The American people are honored to receive Ghana's official delegation. And Laura and I are happy to host two good friends.
The ties of friendship between the United States and Ghana are strong and they are enduring. (Applause.) Many American citizens trace their ancestry to Ghana -- for example, the great jazz legend, Louis Armstrong, traced his ancestry back to Ghana. (Applause.) Centuries ago, Armstrong's forebears came to America as slaves. In 1956, Armstrong returned to Ghana, and played a concert for more than 100,000 people who turned out to celebrate their country's march toward freedom.
And when Ghana's independence was secure, President Eisenhower sent a message to Ghanaians from the people of the United States. He said, "We revere in common with you the great and eternal principles which characterize the free democratic way of life. I am confident that our two countries will stand as one in safeguarding this greatest of all bonds between us."
Half a century later, we see that President Eisenhower's confidence was well-placed. Today, Ghana and America are still bound by our love for liberty, and we stand as one in our efforts to safeguard that freedom.
Ghana and America stand as one as we work to secure freedom from poverty. Ghana's leaders are governing justly, fighting corruption, and investing in their people. And America is proud to support these efforts through our Millennium Challenge Compact. Together, we work with Ghana to improve agriculture and infrastructure, and support development in Ghana's rural areas, and bring prosperity to Ghana's people. We have worked to promote free trade as a powerful engines of prosperity for both our countries. Last year trade between Ghana and the United States was valued at more than $600 million -- an increase of more than 55 percent since President Kufuor and I took office. (Applause.)
Ghana and America stand as one in our work to free people from illiteracy and ignorance. Through the Africa Education Initiative, Ghana and the United States have partnered to provide thousands of scholarships to girls. We've trained teachers. And across that important country, schools are being renovated, textbooks are being distributed, and Ghana's children are looking toward a brighter future.
Ghana and America stand as one in our work to free people from disease. Together, we've protected hundreds of thousands of people from malaria. Starting this month, Ghana and the United States will begin distributing medicines to about 8 million people, as part of a new initiative to combat neglected tropical diseases. (Applause.)
Ghana and America stand as one in our work to promote free elections. Ghana is now in the middle of a lively election season, marked by spirited debate and close-fought contests -- which sounds kind of familiar, Mr. President. (Laughter.) Whatever the outcome, Ghana is showing Africa that democracy is not a challenge to be feared, but a sure path to prosperity and peace.
Ghana and America stand as one in our work to promote peace. Ghana is a vital partner in our efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur. Ghana has more than 3,000 peacekeepers serving around the world -- from Liberia and the Congo to Kosovo and Georgia.
President Kufuor, your country is a model of entrepreneurship and democracy and peace on the continent of Africa. (Applause.) We are grateful for the warm friendship your nation has shown ours. When Laura and I visited Ghana this February, we were touched by the gracious hospitality shown by you and Mrs. Kufuor. Thousands of people lined the street to show their gratitude to America. One shop even painted the colors of the American flag -- I hope their business went up. (Laughter.) I was moved by your decision to name a new road the "George Bush Motorway." (Applause.) Maybe next time I visit Ghana, I can see that motorway without stopping a lot of traffic. (Laughter.)
What inspired us most on our visit was the incredible energy and optimism of Ghana's people. I will always remember the little league game in Accra, played between children from local churches and a local orphanage. As each young batter stepped up to the plate, we heard about their plans for the future -- to become businessmen or doctors or astronauts, or even a fashion designer. One after another, we saw children confident of their place in a free and prosperous Ghana.
Mr. President, I congratulate you on the progress Ghana has made under your strong leadership. (Applause.) And on behalf of the American people, Laura and I are honored to welcome you and Mrs. Kufuor to the United States. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our great nations.
PRESIDENT KUFUOR: Mr. President, First Lady Madam Bush, ladies and gentlemen. Permit me to express my appreciation to you, Mr. President, and the good people of the United States of America, for inviting me to visit your great nation, and also for the warm and friendly reception accorded me and my delegation since arrival yesterday.
I recall the visit you and Mrs. Bush paid in February this year to Ghana, and the significance in lifting the already cordial ties between our two countries to an even higher level. Your government's continued support for Ghana's development efforts is exemplified in many aspects of our national life.
Specific acts of U.S. assistance include the following: the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which avails Ghana businesses to export duty-free and quota-free some 6,400 commodities to the United States market; the African Growth Competitiveness Initiative, which supports our capacity development in international trade; the Millennium Challenge Account, by which your government has granted Ghana $547 million to modernize and commercialize agriculture. (Applause.) The significance of this would be appreciated when you know that over 60 percent of Ghana's population are rural and agricultural. The African Education Initiative, which Mrs. Bush is sponsoring by donating books and other educational resources to promote literacy among the youth of my country. (Applause.)
The African Financial Sector Initiative which avails to Ghana access to the U.S. Ex-Im Bank and OPIC. The President's Malaria Initiative, which is helping many nations on the continent of Africa, including Ghana, in our fight against perhaps the biggest killer disease on the continent of Africa. Then President Bush's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief which has dramatically increased financial resources to Ghana and other afflicted countries in the fight against the pandemic. (Applause.)
These are only some of the great benefits to Ghana and some other African countries, which can only be described as your humanitarian policies to Africa, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you.
PRESIDENT KUFUOR: My hope is that Ghana-U.S. partnership will be strengthened in the years ahead, and that this will be augmented by increased U.S. private sector involvement in the economy of Ghana, including the emerging oil sector. (Applause.) Incidentally, the first major find last year was by a U.S.-based company, Cosmos, from Houston.
Mr. President, I scheduled this state visit to celebrate the enduring strength of my government, which is our commitment to the practice of good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, the different culture of democracy, and promotion of the private sector to become the main engine of economic growth. These principles have gained for Ghana international recognition as a stable and transparent nation, attractive for increased economic investments and activities -- and that translates into general improvements in the lives of her people.
In line with this, my government is fully committed to supporting the conduct of a free and fair electoral process in the impending presidential and parliamentary elections this coming December -- (applause) -- to which we welcome international observers.
I should also seize this opportunity to commend the United States for its continuing support to the African Union through the United Nations, particularly in the areas of conflict resolution, peacekeeping and reconstruction on the continent of Africa.
I cannot conclude without wishing you, Mr. President, a successful ending to your tenure as the leader of this superpower nation. (Applause.) Your tenure has been full of events and challenges, some very mind-boggling and hair-raising. (Laughter.) Through them all, you have been strong, forthright, consistent and faithful. (Applause.) You are a survivor. (Laughter and applause.) And my hope is that history would prove kinder to you. (Applause.)
May you have a restful and useful retirement -- (laughter) -- within your society and beyond.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT KUFUOR: Thank you. May God bless us all. (Applause.)
END 9:23 A.M. EDT