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General News of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor conveys Africa's appreciation to Bush

... Dual carriageway named after Bush
... Rawlings attends Dinner

Accra, Feb. 20, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday conveyed Africa's appreciation to US President George Walker Bush for his many kind gestures towards the Continent and named one of the strategic roads in Accra after him.

The 14-Kilometre Mallam-Tetteh Quarshie Road, which is to be reconstructed into a first class six-lane dual carriageway at a cost of 101 million dollars, would be called George Bush Motorway to immortalize the goodwill he has shown to the country and Africa. Funds for the implementation of this project is coming from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

President Kufuor, who was proposing the toast at a State Banquet held in honour of the visiting US President, said; "We note with great admiration your commitment to the respect of human rights, democracy, good governance, as well as your humanitarian support for the drive towards poverty reduction."

"We recognize also, your exemplary dedication to the fight against diseases like malaria and the HIV-AIDS pandemic."

President Kufuor acknowledged the leading role of President Bush in the decision by the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G-8) to cancel the 40- billion dollar debt owed by poor countries of the world to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multi-lateral international lenders.

A large part of Ghana's external debt was cancelled as a result of this decision.

"Mr President, Africa salutes you for these gestures of goodwill that are impacting the lives of many ordinary persons on the Continent", he said, drawing applause from the tall list of dignitaries at the banquet, who included politicians, traditional rulers, top Government officials, the clergy, high ranking public servants and the academia.

Former President Jerry John Rawlings and the wife were present.

President Kufuor welcomed President Bush's recent facilitating measures to promote the setting up of private equity funds through the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), noting that these could accelerate economic growth to change the fortunes of Africa and bring the needed relief and employment to millions of ordinary Africans. The combination of the policy with the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would help the Continent to tackle the supply side handicap, which was preventing it from enjoying the full benefits of AGOA.

He used the occasion to ask the US to adjust its policies to accommodate the realistic pleas of cotton producing nations of West Africa, many of whom the crop is the mainstay of their economies. On international terrorism, President Kufuor, said Ghana appreciated the leadership stance of President Bush and said the events of "September 11" should establish beyond doubt the necessity for human society as a whole to reject all forms of extremism and intolerance. Dialogue and constructive engagement should be used to resolve the myriad problems facing the world.

Responding, President Bush said he was grateful for the honour done him and pledged to work to strengthen the partnership between his country and Ghana in his remaining days in office.

Both President Bush and President Kufuor end their term in December this year and he said, "We would finish strong and with our heads high."

The US was by the side of Ghana at the time of independence and would continue to stand shoulder to shoulder into the future in the pursuit of democracy, good governance, promotion of peace and the progress of their children, he said. He praised President Kufuor for his leadership, saying' "you have won my respect and that of leaders across the world." President Bush, who was in Ghana on the fourth-leg of his one-week official tour of five African countries leaves for Liberia on Thursday morning to wrap up the trip.

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