President John Evans Atta Mills on Saturday pledged the readiness of Ghana to deepen the democratic process for the benefit of the rest of Africa.
In a speech before Parliament, the President said Ghanaians were encouraged by the recognition of the United States of the modest strides being made in building and consolidating multiparty parliamentary democracy.
Parliament had to relocate to the Accra International Conference Centre to enable more members of the public to listen to us President Barrack Obama’s policy speech on Africa.
“Your choice of our country encourages us to remain focused and to sustain the gains that we have derived from the democratic process and deepen them for the benefit of not only the people of Ghana but also for our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa,” President Mills said to enthusiastic applause of the over 2,000 people gathered at the Centre.
He said Ghana, like others on the continent, was faced with creating the environment of concrete opportunities to enable the people to achieve their dreams, especially in the areas of socio-economic development.
In this direction, he called on the rest of the world to appreciate the challenges facing the continent and come out with special packages that addressed the needs of the continent.
President Mills touched on the havoc that the global financial crisis was wrecking on the economies of African countries, including lower growth, unemployment, slow down in aid inflows and fall in remittances and uncertain commodity prices.
“Our world is becoming more and more vulnerable,” he said, and added that trans-national crime, especially drug trafficking and money laundering, was also eroding the concept of sovereignty.
He said while globalization had facilitated the easy movement of international criminals from one jurisdiction into another, the impunity with which organized crime was committed in our part of the world imposed another daunting task.
“We are impressed with the boldness and innovation with which you are addressing these crises,” he said and called for US support and collaboration for the continent to deal with the impact of the crisis.
In welcoming President Mills and Obama to the house, Mrs Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, the Speaker, described the visit of the US President to the parliament as “historic” and expressed the hope that his two-day official visit strengthened economic and democratic ties between the two countries.
She said it was the first time that an American President was addressing the Parliament of Ghana.
President Obama has said that the choice of Ghana as the first country for his visit to the continent was inspired by the positive contribution the country was making in its forward march to democracy.