tv National Governors Association Winter Meeting - Keynote by Ghanaian... CSPAN February 25, 2018 11:08am-11:37am EST
if you would take your seats, please. ladies and gentlemen, my fellow governors. we are about to witness history. i have the great leisure of introducing the first african address the u.s. governors in the history of the nga. ghana's president, nana akufo-addo, has been focused on reaching ghana's economy. addo is a akufo- champion of human rights and entrepreneurial ideas. in just his first year as president, he has opened the doors for increased state engagement in ghana.
our two countries have been bound by shared values of democracy and human rights for decades. there is an opportunity for the united states, in particularly these states to grow this relationship further. meeting has highlighted how governors in their states are leaders in innovation. focus on akufo-addo's developing ghana's infrastructure, agriculture and energy industry, states can play a role and leverage innovations we have made in those sectors. i know i speak for all of my fellow governors when i say we are excited to hear how we can work together to grow our economies. before introducing the president , first we will see a short video on ghana. [video clip] >> west africa's second-largest
economy, ghana. , place of immeasurable beauty vast resources, and a warm people. when i think about ghana, i think about the potential. >> ghana is a gateway of west africa. anything ghana does, other countries start following. >> if you're new to the apartment, it would be a great place to start. is always one of the top three countries in africa. it is hard for anyone not in ghana to refuse the opportunities within the country . >> the economy is expanding ,riven by cocoa harvests
construction, and transport, and increases in oil production. >> it is a new oil-producing country. [indiscernible] >> the finished cocoa products are going to be used by the most well-known chocolatier in the world. the quality is recognized worldwide as being the best. >> the business climate is attractive, continuously improving, the private sector is growing and investors are safe. >> ghana is safe. >> people are wealthy, they can leave their money. there are opportunities for public and private partnerships and infrastructure development and power generation, manufacturing. save on a, make it happen --
pres. akufo-addo: honorable , i must at the outset express my sincere gratitude to the chair of the national , and the association and indeed the entire membership of this association for the honor of this invitation to deliver this address at the national governors association 2018 winter meeting. people, the first in sub-saharan ask of -- sub-saharan africa to free themselves of colonial rule 61 and today the development of the principles of democratic accountability,
respect for human rights and the rule of law on the african continent are truly appreciative and deeply humbled by your choice of their leader and principal servant to be given the address, the opportunity to address this important annual meeting. it groups together all 50 governors, republican and democrat, of the states of this great federation, the united states of america. [applause] i recognize the significance of the movement as being the first leader from the continent to speak at this meeting. , hope that my country, ghana and indeed the african continent will not be judged by any deficiencies of mine. [laughter] those are purely personal to me and not at all representative.
let me also express the gratitude of all freedom loving , to the menhe world and women of this great country, the united states of america, the land of the free and the home of the brave. in the 20th century, the united -- waswhich largely largely responsible for seeing that the threat to freedom posed by to talk terry and him -- posed by to talia terrien -- tarian ideas were defeated. america's responsibility in the 21st century is to remain the shining city upon the hill, the force of whose ideas inspire greater chapters in man's development to freedom. the space for democratic engagement, importantly in africa, has widened.
in my country, we have decided to make a full fist of it. in the year of the fourth republic, we have experienced the longest interrupted period of stable, constitutional government and our history, banishing the specter of instability that disfigured the early years of our nations existence. we celebrated its silver jubilee. democracy, equality of opportunity and respect for human rights -- ideas which have stood the test of time, have now found firm anchor in our body politic. we have had five successive presidents in the fourth republic with peaceful transfers of power from a governing to an opposition party on three separate occasions. the latest being in 2016, which
brought me to office. my party, the new patriotic party and i won the 2016 election because the ghanan people were unsatisfied with their living conditions and the direction of the economy. they agreed we were different and could put in place the measures to improve their living conditions. my government's program of economic transformation is hinged on restructuring the institutions of our governance, modernizing our agriculture to ahance its productivity, clear industrial policy and rationalizing the industrial intor so it supports growth agriculture and growth in manufacturing and industry. in my view, that is the way we can build a resilient economy and lead ghana to a situation
the aunt aid. that -- to a situation beyond aid. that is our goal. a donna capable of mobilizing its own material and human resources to build a strong economy. capable of generating prosperity for the mass of our people, a donna no longer depend -- a ghana no longer dependent on handouts and charity. over the last months, my government has begun to work on the fundamentals of the economy in ane we believed approved macroeconomy is a basic requirement for stimulating the investments we need for the rapid expansion and growth of the economy and the generation of wealth and jobs. this has led to the growing strength of our economy, from a growth rate of 3.6% in 2016 to
7.9% in 2017, the stabilization of our currency, reduction in inflation from 15.6% at the end of 2016 to its current level of 10.6%. a revival of ghanan industry -.5% inrowth rate of 2016 to 17.7% in 2017. reduction in interest rates and a physical deficit from 9.3% to 5.6% of gdp and the abolition of useless taxes with the aim of sifting the focus of the ghana economy from a focus on taxation to an emphasis on production. we are also putting in place strong measures to increase revenue mobilization by plugging leaks and reforming the existing tax exemption regime.
this process of economic and industrial transformation is going along with ensuring that the most basic elements of social justice are met. we began to make quality basic education, education from kindergarten through secondary school acceptable to all of -- accessible to all of ghana's children. through my government's policy of free secondary education in in public schools, launched september 2017, 90,000 more children gained access to senior high school in 2017 than they did the year before. [applause] equally, accessible health care to all of our citizens through an efficient and financially
self-sustaining national health insurance scheme is a crucial goal of my government. we do all of this to promote a culture of incentives and opportunity, to unleash the considerable ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial talents of our people, especially of our youth. this is the surest path to national prosperity. bolstered by an enhancement of public accountability. last friday, before my departure, i appointed the first special prosecutor in our , and anticorruption crusader whose task will be to deal exclusively with corruption and hold public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardship of our nation's public finances. , key challenge of our economy like many other economies in
africa, is our infrastructural deficit. embarking on an aggressive public/private partnership program to attract investment in the development of both our roads and railways infrastructure. that the solid private sector participation we can develop a multi-rail network with strong links and the potential to connect us to our westbors to the north, the , and to the east. apart from prosecuting their building at least one factory in each district of ghana, the time has come for ghana to develop strategic industry out of its abundant natural resources. we shall shortly establish an
integrated aluminum development authority to assemble the relevant financial resources, the systematic exploitation and development of our deposits. havee same token, we decided to exploit our substantial iron ore and deposits situated in the northern and western region of our country to build a steel industry to serve the needs of our country and region. interestsg systematic to develop our new oil and gas industry into which exxon mobil signing inpeared, january a major offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreement with ghana. to establishined the relevant petrochemical industry to take advantage of the growth of our oil and gas
industry. there is a lot of opportunity for american capital, technology and enterprise in ghana and africa and we welcome companies from all of your states to participate in the exceptional opportunities that exist in our country and on the continent. we appreciate the continuing support offered to our country and to the financing of our budget by the american people and their government. the 2016 election in ghana, the election which brought me to office, the united states contributed millions of dollars to the holding of that election. we received 547 million united --tes dollars from
negotiated by the government with the bush government when i was ghana's foreign minister. it was satisfactorily completed. , negotiated with the obama government, nearly $500 million is being invested in ghana to improve power generation. nonetheless, i believe the time has come for a new form of partnership between ghana and the united states of america. just claiming aid, but we do want to discard a mindset of dependency. it is unhealthy, both for the giver and the receiver. [applause] we want our relations with the united states to be characterized by a substantial
increase in trade and investment cooperation. this is the way to develop healthy relations between our two countries and thereby strengthen our economy and raise the living standards of our two people. governors, i urge you not to ignore our cotton -- our continent. many people say this is the asian century but i believe strongly this can be africa's century. our growth in 2015 was second only to that of asia. , sixding to the world bank of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies this year are in africa. we are rich in natural resources and in possession of nearly 30% of the earth's remaining mineral resources. we have a vibrant young population and those who still
have important security -- and that we still have important security challenges, we are more at peace than before, despite the ditch -- despite the distressing events leading to this placement of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. rise tocan union has to the occasion and globalize the community to find a peaceful democratic outcome to the crisis in the congo. we now see the beginnings of regional trade, which is about to be given an institutional framework by the historic institution of the african union to bring into being on march 21 the continental free trade area. -- for theegional first time since its establishment, all 15 member countries have democratically
elected government, which gives us a great opportunity to prosecute vigorously the agenda of integration, not just with words, but with concrete regional products that will benefit our populations. this is the time to look at africa. not willing are to cross the sahara on foot and drowned in the mediterranean sea in a desperate effort to reach the mirage of a better life in europe. with the majority of african economies depended on the production and export of raw materials, who can blame them for wanting to leave? these economies cannot produce wealth and prosperity for the masses on the continent.
it therefore drives the determination to seek a much better standard of living out of africa, thereby fueling the refugee crisis and the numerous counts of illegal migrations. the migrations into the united states, from ireland and italy in the 19th century has completely subsided because the economies of those two countries are working properly. we in africa cannot continue traveling the world -- traveling the path of limited success of being exporters of raw material. our problems require that we think outside of the box. and approach to solving problems must be different than the approach that brought about the problems in the first place. the only way to ensure prosperity for africa and jobs for our young population is through value addition
in a transformed and diverse of five modern economy in which we take full advantage of the digital revolution. in other words, the industrial development of our continent. we are determined to ensure the realization of this so that our young people can stay and devote their great energies to the building of a great africa. i want to recount at this juncture the inspiring words of the american politician williams "destiny is not a matter of choice. it is not a thing to be waited for. it is a thing to be achieved." [applause] there are many amongst us who cannot accept that it is only
who can engineer a transition in one generation the transition from property -- from poverty to prosperity. we are determined to do that in our generation in ghana and ensure that succeeding generations will not be victims or ponds of the global order. awns of theor p global order. this will chart a new development of freedom which will lift the long-suffering african masses out of poverty to the realms of prosperity and dignified existence. in conclusion, let me reaffirm the commitment of my government in ghana on standing shoulder to shoulder with the united states and the promotion of human rights on the african continent and across the globe. we stand shoulder to shoulder
with the united states in their rejection of terrorism as a legitimate means of resolving political disputes. we appreciate the courageous commitment and the lead role being played in the fight against terrorism by the united states in several parts of the world, including the sahara region of west africa. we stand shoulder to shoulder with the united states in attempting to develop our economies to provide opportunities for citizens to fulfill their aspirations, especially the youth. andtand ready to renew deepen our relations with united states of america for the andess -- for the progress prosperity of our two peoples. may god bless us all and the peoples of the united states of america and ghana. i thank you for your attention. [applause]