Remarks By Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan AmCham Thanksgiving and Awards Event

Honorable Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum Sarpong;

AMCHAM President Ayesha Bedwei Ibe;

Distinguished Guests;

Friends, Ladies, and Gentlemen;

All protocols observed:


Good evening everyone! It’s good to see all of you again. I’m so pleased to be here this evening to celebrate Thanksgiving, my favorite American holiday, together. Thanks for your kind words. My wonderful Economic and Commercial team deserves all the accolades.

This year’s celebration is particularly meaningful for me, as I expect it to be my last in Ghana as U.S. Ambassador, a position I am truly grateful and honored to hold. Before the handkerchiefs come out, though, let me add that I do not yet have a departure date.

This evening, I reflect on the many challenges and hardships we have endured since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Few families have been spared the pain of loss over the last, nearly two years.  It’s at Thanksgiving that we gather to remember the blessings we have, even as we mourn the loss of so many.  None of us could have anticipated the unprecedented effects this pandemic has had on our day-to-day lives, not to mention those felt by companies and workers around the world, as they struggled to survive and adapt to ever-changing business conditions.

I am truly proud of how the United States has worked closely with Ghana since the start of the pandemic, contributing more than $30 million dollars to support Ghana’s COVID-19 response across a range of sectors.

From over 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines (with more arriving Monday!), to oxygen and respiratory care equipment along with training, to long-term health infrastructure investment and coordinated public health messaging, we continue to address the immediate and medium-term effects of COVID-19 on the health, agriculture, and education sectors, including the hard-hit private sector in Ghana.

The contributions of the fantastic membership of the AmCham throughout the pandemic have also made us proud of you, as exemplary of American corporate citizens.

So, as we gather this year to give thanks, I am mindful of the many blessings in our lives each day, both big and small, the challenges as well as the triumphs, and that at the heart of this holiday stands the spirit of togetherness.

The idea of togetherness reminds me of one of my favorite African sayings:  “The path to a friend’s home is never far.” And these days, the path can even be via zoom! The AmCham and American companies operating in Ghana are the embodiment of this togetherness and mutual support.

As I hope you know, promoting trade and investment is a strategic focus of the U.S. Mission to Ghana and has been at the top of my priorities as Ambassador.

Since my arrival in Ghana at the end of 2018, I have been honored to work with AmCham to grow the commercial relationship between our nations.

You, the members of AmCham, have been essential in this effort. American businesses and investors have long been at the forefront of deepening ties between our two countries.

And we see the benefits for Ghanaian companies and workers, too. We greatly appreciate the leadership of our American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana in advancing this partnership.

I remember during the visit of then-President Bill Clinton in March 1998, during my earlier assignment in Ghana – yes, I’m that old! – first hearing of Ghana as the “Gateway to Africa.” Some of you in this room remember that electrifying visit as well and have also seen our bilateral economic relationship grow and mature since then.  And now, with the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area-based right here in Accra, I believe that Ghana is truly poised to capitalize on the new economic synergies and opportunities for growth the AfCFTA can bring to the continent.

The AfCFTA’s focus on supporting women and youth, in particular, will surely lead to exciting new opportunities for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

I look forward to seeing how they take full advantage of all that this free trade area of 55 countries, with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion US Dollars, has to offer, including as partners for U.S. companies seeking to enter the African marketplace.

When we look back on AmCham’s activities since we last gathered in person, and the difficult road we’ve traveled together, there are a lot of reasons to give thanks. While our activities and our resourcefulness were challenged by the pandemic, they were not constrained.

Despite the obstacles, we found ways to partner with you to keep up momentum in the business relationship. For example, together with AmCham, we hosted a virtual franchise trade mission that introduced new American brands to the market.

Last year, AmCham collaborated with USAID and the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub to host a webinar on co-investment opportunities and how companies can take advantage of and export to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which remains in force into 2025.  In April, AmCham leadership held a virtual roundtable with Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa Camille Richardson to discuss how U.S. businesses are faring during the COVID pandemic and hear about their post-pandemic recovery plans.

Working with AmCham’s Digital Committee, we engaged the head of tax policy at the Ministry of Finance in June to discuss the Government of Ghana’s rollout of taxes on the digital economy.

And more recently, we partnered with AmCham to host a very successful U.S.-Ghana Business Forum that reached hundreds of industry stakeholders from both countries.

We also welcomed several new members to AmCham.  Companies like Abbott Laboratories, Baker Hughes, Orkin, Piedmont Lithium, and Trimble Navigation have joined the fold, adding to the growing family of companies that are changing the landscape of Ghana’s industry footprint.  Make no mistake, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana is deeply important to overall U.S.-Ghana relations.

Ghana is blessed to have such a dynamic, diverse, and active AmCham. It is no accident, but rather a tribute to the incredible dedication of so many of you in this room. I have sincerely enjoyed every opportunity to engage with AmCham over the years.  Together we have overcome challenges to strengthen and grow the US-Ghana commercial relationship.  So, let us take pride in our many accomplishments as we look to the future in Ghana – one that continues to hold immense opportunity and promise.

In closing, allow me to congratulate in advance tonight’s honorees and award recipients. I wish you all an enjoyable evening and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for all you do and for your kind attention.

By | 2021-11-25T11:11:42+00:00 November 25th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

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