His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, the new Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States (U.S.) on the morning of Friday, July 21, 2017, presented his letters of credence together with the letter of recall of his predecessor, Ambassador Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith (rtd.), to President Donald J. Trump of the U.S. at the Oval Office in Washington, D.C. in a simple but remarkably brief ceremony.
Later on in the evening of that day, the Ambassador interacted with members of the Washington D.C. diplomatic corps, fellow distinguished guests from respective embassies, the staff at the Ghana embassy, members of the Ghanaian community in the U.S. and the press. They were all invited to attend a cocktail reception in the Ambassador’s honor.
The reception formally presented the new Ambassador to the public. He told the reception he had earlier on presented his written remarks to President Trump and received the U.S. President’s written response as well.
Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah during his introductory speech at the reception said Ghana was ready to continue work with the U.S. to strengthen trade relations and other forms of partnerships that can firmly cement existing bilateral relationship while establishing new ones. He also asked Ambassadors from Africa in the U.S. to consider him as their Ambassador as he intends to consider them as his Ambassadors too.
Ambassador Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah addresses public
Ghana’s development partners were reassured by Ambassador Adjei-Bawuah of the country’s continued hospitality and support in providing [the] necessary environment to facilitate the successful establishment of business and investment. “Ghana is ready to play its part in this partnership by our shared commitment to strengthening democracy, promoting good governance and sustaining economic growth,” the Ambassador said.
Speaking about his duty, Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah saw it vital to lay a good foundation for the next 60 years (given the fact that Ghana-U.S. relations have been cordial in the past 60yrs) so both countries can continue to enjoy a “tighter and mutually beneficial relationship.” Turning his attention to his staff and the public, the ambassador said it was “never going to be enough for anybody to say that ‘I was there’, it will have to be that ‘I was there, and I did the best that I could‘”.
The Ambassador was personally moved by the singing of Ghana’s alternate national anthem titled ‘yen ara asase ni’ by Mr. E-B. Asare-Asiedu; Head of Chancery of the Embassy, earlier on. The Ambassador recounted the last time he was moved by ‘yen ara asase ni‘ was when it was sung at an occasion in Tokyo, Japan. What made this second time more moving was the fact that Mr. Asare-Asiedu even knew and actually sang the second verse to the song, which Ghanaians rarely hear about or even know how to sing.
Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah commended the work of his predecessor, noting: “I know and I understand [he] did the best that he could.”
A.U., ECOWAS Ambassador’s Group, and U.S. Government represented
As he looked into the future, Ambassador Barwuah said “we have to pull together, because one way or the other we are all committed to making sure that the continent turns around to become the continent that everybody would be enviable of… Am going to count on your support, am going to count on your encouragement, am going to count on your goodwill to make sure that if you succeed, I succeed and if I succeed, you also succeed.”
Mr. Robert Scott, the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at Bureau of African Affairs who spoke on behalf of the U.S. government praised Ghana’s sound socio-economic and political atmosphere.
Mr. Scott said Ghana had provided a good reason for which U.S. companies like IBM, Newmont Mining and Coca-Cola among other American interests continue to do business in the country, a reason which has also made “Ghana a potential as a West African hub for American business”. He revealed that “Bilateral trade between our two countries reached $11B in 2016”, and that the U.S. was working to boost that number by the end of 2018.
Also present at the occasion was His Excellency Babacar Diagne, Ambassador of Senegal to the U.S., who represented the Dean of Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) Ambassador’s group. Ambassador Diagne acknowledged the work of the out-gone Ambassador, calling “…Ambassador Smith a friend and a remarkable Ambassador for his country.”
Ambassador Diagne then went on to welcome Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah to his post before praising Ghana’s tremendous pivotal role in Africa as a country that “paved the way for independence for our country”.
The cocktail reception also featured a display of Ghanaian music and food. King Peggy of Otuam who has been an embassy staff for over 4 decades, and Akosua Okyere-Badoo; Head of Diaspora Desk at the Embassy among other embassy staff were also present. The African Union Permanent Representative to the US Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao also graced the occasion.
Meet Ambassador Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah
His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah is the 19th Ambassador of Ghana to the US, prior to this appointment, he was Ghana’s Ambassador to Japan with concurrent accreditation to Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea from 2001-2008 under the President Kufuor administration. He was born in 1942 and is married to Dinah Barfuor-Barwuah, he has 4 children.