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General News of Thursday, 12 June 2008

Source: Prince Osei-Bonsu

RE: Why Govt Paid $1.3 Million to Lobbyist

WASHINGTON, DC -- Regarding the Ghana Web Home Page article of 10 June 2008, the Whitaker group is pleased to clarify its role and contributions to both Ghana and Africa’s economic development, which were misrepresented.

First, the work of The Whitaker Group (TWG) on behalf of Ghana and other African nation transcends politics and primarily focuses on facilitating trade and investment that creates jobs, strengthens the economy and helps improve the quality of life for Ghanaian and other African people.

In fact, our principal, Rosa Whitaker, founded TWG in 2003 to mobilize capital, resources and partnerships for Africa’s development. It is a misrepresentation of facts to convey that TWG was paid such large sums of money to host events. Lobbying is only a small part of what we do. Facilitating investment and expanded trade opportunities that actually create jobs and income for the nation underpin the vast majority of our work for Ghana. We are required, however, by US law to report events hosted on behalf of foreign governments (and not specific deliverables).

We appreciate the opportunity Ghana Web has provided for us to state the facts with just a few examples of our key deliverables for the people of Ghana: ???? TWG helped to facilitate the investment and personally accompanied and arranged the visit of the company that discovered over 600 million barrels of oil in Ghana worth billions of dollars. Our Principal, Rosa Whitaker, personally accompanied the President of the US-based energy firm to Ghana, encouraged the off--shore oil exploration and investment and arranged meetings with the President Kufuor and other Ghanaian officials.

???? TWG personally lobbied and provided technical support for the $547 million grant to Ghana by the US-backed Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) ensuring that Ghana was among the first countries that came to Washington to make its case and be selected for MCA support, which is helping to finance road and agricultural development in the nation.

1 ???? TWG accompanied, on several occasions, a senior US agricultural company to Ghana and helped facilitate a $100 million investment in a state-of-the-art cocoa processing facility. This investment was followed by two additional investments from other global agricultural firms of an additional $200 million

2 for a total of $300 million dollars in total cocoa processing investments. We have focused a great deal of our work and energy on value-added labour intensive opportunities for the nation with notable success.

???? TWG recently facilitated a commitment by a global company to invest in Ghana’s apparel sector, which will position Ghana in the community of nations exporting garments to the US. Upon successful completion of phase one of this project, the company will explore investing in cotton production for total vertical integration of exports made in Ghana. TWG has also brought apparel technical support and buyers of garments to Ghana, which has resulted in million of dollars in orders.

TWG has built the kind of awareness and relationships in the US for Ghana that has significantly enhanced the profile of the nation. Activities coordinated and facilitated by TWG to build this support has included a trade mission to the West Coast of the US by a Ghanaian delegation to meet with prominent US companies such as Google, Gap, Costco, Levi-Strauss and Starbucks to promote business linkages in Ghana. We were proud to have brought President Kufuor before the prominent US Economic Leadership Council, an association of US African-American business leaders and the US Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization to promote trade and investment.

Over 75% of capital from the developed to the developing world is from trade and investment and foreign aid is now only a small share of capital transfers. Many nations have wisely invested in promoting themselves in the US – the world’s largest economy.

Our work in 2003 helped to end limited sanctions imposed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation on Ghana, which was based on a high profile commercial dispute. Resolving this dispute unlocked $150 million in investment guarantees and incentives for the nation.

TWG is a key source of information in the US about business and investment opportunities about Ghana. In addition to our trade and investment expertise, we utilize media opportunities to promote the nation and have helped to facilitate positive media opportunities with CNN, CSPAN, Business Week and other media outlets, including the creation of our own GHANA UPDATE newsletter, which we distribute by email to over 8,000 global leaders bimonthly encouraging them to partner with Ghanaian government and business leaders to build the nation’s economy.

We are proud to have successfully lobbied for AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) and its expansion, which has resulted in the creation of over 300,000 jobs and billions of dollars in expanded exports from Africa to the US. We are pleased to have successfully lobbied for MCA, and the establishment of US-government backed investment and equity funds for Africa. In fact, for over 25 years, Rosa Whitaker has advocated for Africa’s development. She was an architect of AGOA. Africa has been and perhaps will always be her passion and call. The Whitaker Group, however, is not just Rosa Whitaker, but a team of committed professionals who believe in Africa and Ghana’s promise and are working tirelessly for that promise to be realized.


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