The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Virginia Palmer, has lauded the government for promoting inclusive economic growth in the northern part of the country which is important for the peace and stability of the country.
“I have a lot of respect for the government to recognise inclusive economic growth in the north is critical both to the country’s economic development but also to peace and stability and preventing violent extremists taking advantage of conflicts or lack of development to perpetrate their activities,” she noted.
Ms Palmer was speaking at an encounter with journalists in Tamale on Wednesday as part of her first official trip outside Accra since assuming her responsibilities as the United States Ambassador to Ghana in April, this year.
While in the north, she undertook various activities including attending a Power Africa event, meeting with Northern Regional Minister, touring Nuts for Growth factory, and the launch of Global Shea Alliance and MasterCard Foundation’s Shea Business Empowerment Programme.
Ms Palmer visited an open defecation free community and a health care facility in the Sagnarigu Municipality, met with Women in Agriculture Platform representatives, president of Savannah Region Queen Mothers Association, Mandela Washington Fellowship and United States-Ghana Exchange Programme Alumni.
Ms Palmer disclosed that $130 million United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programmes in the north was priority for them because the role of the north was particularly important to the work USAID in keeping the country secured and stable amid increasingly rough neighbourhoods.
“We are concerned about democratic backsliding in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, and Ghana’s example is hugely important to that,” she said and commended the government on Accra Initiative where the government recognised there was an increasing threat from Sahel region and close door West African countries which were stable and democratic, increasingly vulnerable to attacks as witnessed in recent days in Togo, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire.
“The Accra Initiative is the government’s leadership with her neighbours to cooperate on intelligence, share information, work on inclusive economic growth on our northern borders to ensure we stay peaceful and democratic, and if that happens then the rest of the economy of entire West Africa and the continent will also be strengthened,” Ms Palmer observed.
According to Ms Palmer, corruption undermined everything that the people and the government wanted to do and was a serious challenge that must be addressed and called for support to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, provide human rights and professional training for the Police to help investigate cases, provide practical assistance and support to the people they were investigating, holding officials and politicians accountable. -GNA