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Saturday, July 7, 2012
Map Credit: U.S. State Department.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Ghana in 1957 following its independence from the United Kingdom. The United States and Ghana share a long history promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Ghana has set an example for countries throughout Africa in promoting governance and regional stability.
The U.S. and Ghanaian militaries have cooperated in numerous joint training exercises through U.S. Africa Command, and there is a bilateral International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, a Foreign Military Financing program, as well as numerous Humanitarian Affairs projects. Ghana continues to participate in the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, in which the U.S. facilitates the development of an interoperable peacekeeping capacity among African nations. Ghana also enjoys a relationship with the North Dakota National Guard, under the auspices of the State Partnership Program.
Through the U.S. International Visitor Program, Ghanaian parliamentarians and other government officials have become acquainted with U.S. congressional and state legislative practices and have participated in programs designed to address other issues of interest. Youth exchanges and study abroad programs are also robust and growing between U.S. and Ghanaian universities and NGO’s. At the U.S. state level, the State Partnership Program aims to promote greater economic ties between Ghana and U.S. institutions, including the National Guard.
The United States has enjoyed good relations with Ghana at a nonofficial, people-to-people level since Ghana's independence. Thousands of Ghanaians have been educated in the United States. Close relations are maintained between educational and scientific institutions, and cultural links are strong, particularly between Ghanaians and African-Americans.
U.S. Assistance to Ghana
U.S. development assistance to Ghana is implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the African Development Foundation, and others. USAID-managed development assistance to Ghana has supported the country in increasing food security, improving basic health care, enhancing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaians. The West Africa Trade Hub, located in Accra, provides technical assistance to help small businesspersons to grow their businesses and access new customers in the United States and the West African region. The Peace Corps has a large program in Ghana, with volunteers working in education, agriculture, and health (including HIV/AIDS, malaria, sanitation, and nutrition).
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is among Ghana's principal trading partners, with two-way trade between the two countries rapidly increasing and reaching nearly $2 billion in 2011. A number of major U.S. companies operate in the country. Political stability, overall sound economic management, a low crime rate, competitive wages, and an educated, English-speaking workforce enhance Ghana's potential as a West African hub for American businesses. The discovery of major oil reserves in deep water in the Gulf of Guinea has led numerous international petroleum exploration firms to enter the Ghanaian market, and many other firms involved in oil and gas auxiliary services have expressed interest in starting operations in the country.
Ghana's Membership in International Organizations
In foreign affairs, Ghana generally follows the consensus of the Nonaligned Movement and the African Union on economic and political issues that do not directly affect its own interests. Ghana and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Ghana also is an observer to the Organization of American States.