Loudoun County delegation meets Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo

Photo (L-R): Oral Ofori, Chief of Staff Matthew Rogers, Beth Erickson, Vice Chair Koran Saines, President Akufo-Addo, Supervisor Sylvia Glass, Buddy Rizer and Chief of Staff Kent Erwin / © TheAfricanDream.net

The Loudoun County delegation led by Phyllis Randall, Chair-At-Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisor, that signed a Sister City Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tema in Ghana also met with the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to discuss high-level economic interests and update him on their trip so far. They were hosted at the Jubilee House, Ghana’s Presidential Palace in Accra. 

The delegation’s effort to negotiate a Sister City Agreement with Tema, Ghana, was acknowledged by the President during a cordial and productive conversation. He commended the leadership of Loudoun County for their strong interest in Tema in particular and Ghana in general, and expressed his optimism over the signing of the Sister City MOU between the City of Tema and Loudoun County (Virginia, United States (US)). This is expected to benefit residents of both cities. 

Vice Chair Koran Saines who led the delegation that visited President Akufo-Addo on Friday, June 16, briefed the President on his team’s meetings with Ghanaian companies to discuss shared commercial goals, tourism exchange programs, and opportunities for Ghanaian companies to increase their market share by establishing operations in Loudoun County, Virginia. This was discussed with reference to December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leadership Summit.

In his response, the President indicated that any investment in Ghana would lead to the opportunity off tapping into a market of about 1.3 billion people and the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation. Ghana is home to the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), positioning the nation as a strategic gateway to the African market.

Vice-Chair Saines who also spoke on behalf of Chair Randall expressed how honored he was to meet the President and share how the Sister City MOU will benefit all parties. Buddy Rizer, Head of the Loudoun’s Economic Development expressed his delight in seeing the building of one of Africa’s best data centers in Ghana. Mr. Rizer was at a meeting in Washington DC with President Akufo-Addo earlier this year with Kingsley Obaji to hold discussions about the Sister City project in the first quarter of 2023.

Ghana is resolute on attracting investment from the global community, particularly from the US, for accelerated economic development. The Sister City MOU with Tema, which is the industrial hub of Ghana, and Loudoun County, one of the richest counties in the US and host to over 60% of the world’s global internet traffic, is expected to attract more investment from businesses into Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo on this premise encouraged Loudoun County to use the opportunities provided by the MOU to invite investors to expand their operations into Tema and other parts of Ghana, since numerous opportunities exist in various economic sectors in Ghana such as agribusiness, manufacturing, technology and tourism, urging businesses in Loudoun County to take advantage of the favourable economic regime in Ghana to invest in the country.

He also impressed upon the Board of Supervisors to start exchange programmes that would allow qualified students from Tema to enroll in study abroad programs at prestigious American institutions like George Washington and George Mason Universities as well as other renowned Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that are in the US such as Howard University and Virginia Union University, respectively located in Washington DC and the State of Virginia.

A similar courtesy can also be extended by the City of Tema to scholars from the County as well.

Ghana has a thriving diaspora involvement, which resulted in two noteworthy projects, the Year of Return and Beyond the Return, from which Loudoun will also benefit. The projects aim at advancing Ghana’s development goal by utilizing the expertise and information held by those living abroad to address knowledge and resource shortages, as collaborators, and as members and leaders of Ghanaian scientific and technical networks.

Loudoun County is renowned as home of several internet-related companies, including the Telos Corporation and Paxfire Incorporated, which Tema is expected to benefit from through the Sister City partnership. The President also expressed his anticipation for Loudoun’s influence to draw the interest of hi-tech companies such as Verizon Business and the Orbital Sciences Corporation to Ghana as a suitable hub for their African subsidiaries.

The President’s side of the meeting included Hon. Frema Osei Opare Chief of Staff at the Presidency and Nana Bediatuo Asante Secretary to the President, Mr. Fawaz Aliu Deputy Chief of Staff, Amb. Emmanuel Enos Director of State Protocol, Mr. William Manful Director of the Americas Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ghana and Mr. Larry Kumi, an assistant Director at the Americas Bureau.

Loudoun County’s representatives also included Supervisor Sylvia Glass, Chief of Staff Matthew Rogers, Chief of Staff Kent Erwin, Beth Erickson of Visit Loudoun Now, and Oral Ofori of the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC. 

Source: Embassy of Ghana, DC

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