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Good afternoon, and thank you, Scott, for that kind introduction. 

Thank you, Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, Ministers from the Government of Ghana, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana, and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat for organizing this gathering.

We appreciate you graciously hosting our delegation, which includes a team from the U.S. Department of Commerce, our Embassy in Accra, representatives from other federal agencies, and 20 executives of American companies who traveled to Accra for this event with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s West Africa Business Mission.

I am particularly excited for this forum, which aims to deepen diplomatic and commercial partnerships between Ghana and the U.S. as we move to assist in the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area in terms of member states, encompassing 1.3 billion people.  

It is my hope that this forum will be a platform for mutual exchange of ideas and an opportunity to develop lasting relationships. 

I am here to reinforce an important message from President Biden to our partners in the region: The U.S. is committed to being a strong, long-term, and stable partner in your economic development.

Through this partnership, we aim to expand trade and investment between the U.S. and Ghana while creating jobs and sustainable growth in both countries.  We are taking steps to achieve this mission at the highest possible levels.  

Soon Secretary Raimondo will announce the fourth class of companies that make up the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, also known as the PAC-DBIA. The Council provides analysis and recommendations to the President of the United States, through the Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the U.S. and Africa based on members’ firsthand, on-the-ground experience.

The PAC-DBIA is an effective model of public-private collaboration and an excellent forum for the U.S. Government to receive timely feedback on policies and programs that promote U.S. commercial interests in Africa.

In fact, in 2018, the former Secretary of Commerce led the PAC-DBIA on a trip to Ghana and several other countries. Based on the recommendations of the PAC-DBIA to deepen engagement with African countries through government-to-government partnership agreements, the Commerce Department established a Memoranda of Understanding, or MOU, with four countries, including Ghana. 

During this trip, I hope to engage with my counterparts and revitalize the U.S.-Ghana MOU. The world – and our economies – look much different than they did in 2018. However, we remain committed to increasing trade and investment between our countries as a key driver towards recovery.

In particular, we see opportunities for further engagement in sectors of mutual priority including infrastructure, health care, healthcare systems, ICT, and climate resiliency.

For example, Ghana’s One District/One Factory Industrial policy seeks to move Ghana from being a natural-resource-based extraction economy to a manufacturing and service-based economy.

We can support this endeavor by engaging U.S. firms to provide technology and high-quality infrastructure that alleviate the dangers of climate change. This could serve as a firm foundation for Ghanaian economic growth and prosperity while simultaneously combating long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.  

We are all recovering from the economic shocks and disrupted supply chains brought on by the pandemic and events taking place in Ethiopia and Ukraine. As we endure these shocks and recover – both in the U.S. and globally – we are committed to building a more equitable global economy.

Our priorities are to engage minority-owned businesses, leverage the African Diaspora community, and empower women.

The U.S. Government is developing a commercial engagement plan that will guide its engagement with the U.S. private sector on infrastructure. This will include spearheading two-way learning activities designed to educate the American business community about infrastructure development opportunities in Africa.

As you have heard in the sessions this morning, there are many opportunities for us to work together as you work to build the Ghana – and the African Continental Free Trade Area – that you envision.

We hope you will view the U.S. as a ‘partner of choice’. I may be biased, but as a son of small business owners, I believe that American companies provide the world’s highest quality products and services, and that we are great partners.   

We share a common vision for a prosperous future that will result in a more equitable and accessible global economy. As you can see from the turnout of American companies and my U.S. government counterparts today, we stand ready to increase trade between the U.S. and Ghana to realize this goal. 

Thank you for inviting me and for sharing your invaluable insights during this forum.

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