Wednesday, July 15, 2009

President Obama Visits Ghana

President Obama made his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa on July 10-11, 2009, visiting Ghana after attending the G8 Summit in Italy. Obama is the third consecutive U.S. President to stop in Ghana, one of the top African nations that has consistently been reducing poverty and improving lives through economic growth.

Some Ghana stats:

  • Ghanaian citizens have participated in five consecutive peaceful transitions of power. (See an overview Ghanaian elections here.)
  • In 2004, the Ghanaian government announced the elimination of school fees for primary schools. This coupled with a new school feeding program, increased enrollment rates for primary school boys from 60% in 2004-2005 to 84% in 2007-2008, and girls from 58% to 82%.
  • Ghana currently receives funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and is one of the 15 focus countries in the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). PMI's work in Ghana aims to distribute more than one million bed nets, spray 100,000 houses with pesticides that kill mosquitoes carrying malaria, and to provide 1.2 million doses of malaria medicine to treat children under five.
  • Ghana has a 5-year, $547 million compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), focused on agriculture, rural development and infrastructure improvement. During President George W. Bush's visit to Ghana in 2008, then President Kafuor renamed a main highway in Accra (a project of the MCC) the "George W. Bush Highway."
  • Ghana has experienced 4-5% annual growth over the past 20 years, and has nearly halved its poverty rate since 1992, putting it on track to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal by 2015.
  • In 2007, Ghana was the United States' tenth largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and the sixth largest exporter to the U.S. (Compare even more key development stats between Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. here).

President Obama’s recent trip to Ghana showcases the country’s success story as a concrete example of how targeted smart aid, joined with good governance, can lead to noticeable, positive change.

-- Jaimie Hwang

Source: ONE