Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Media Availability in Accra, Ghana

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Accra, Ghana
August 5, 2022


MODERATOR: We’ll turn it over to Joy News for the first question, please.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Bernice Abu Baidoo from Joy News. Thanks for your presentation, but in there I heard a lot about what the American Government is doing to support us, but you didn’t mention the issues especially with governance and how you’re supporting especially agribusiness. What will your recommendations be in terms of doing homegrown policies to support agribusiness in Ghana? Because clearly the Ukraine war has taught us that the effect of aid is that when there’s struggle elsewhere, it will affect us. So homegrown policies?

AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: That is such an important question, and I think one of my recommendations and the recommendations that the U.S. Government strongly supports is to encourage governments to focus more capacity on building up the agribusiness sector, supporting farmers with extension services, encouraging young people like the young woman who asked the question today about how young farmers can be supported.

As I noted in my speech today, Africa’s potential is unlimited. There is no reason for Africa to be dependent on wheat exports from across the world when your land resources are so abundant. So this is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to start to build those resources. It’s an opportunity to support those who are in the agribusiness sector. And it will require governments to make a concerted effort to put resources, to put policies in place that will encourage farmers to do the necessary that will feed the future of this continent.

MODERATOR: Thank you. I’m going to ask guests to stand back. Can we please have the next question from AP?

QUESTION: Yeah, my name is Francis Kokutse. The Secretary of State is in Southern Africa, later DRC (inaudible). Should we take this as an empire-building mission?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’ve been in Africa since 1978, as you heard me say. I come to this continent on a regular basis. I engage with African leaders. I am regularly meeting with my counterparts in New York. And the United States is a long-term partner to countries on this continent. This is not about building an empire; it is about cementing long-term relationships, building and cementing partnerships that we’ve had on this continent for more than 60 years.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you.

STAFF: I know you need sound quality, but I need you to move back. I need you to back up.

MODERATOR: Okay. I think we may have time for one more. Asaase, do you have a question? Okay.

QUESTION: My name is Nana Oye; I’m from Asaase Radio. You mentioned that Ghana has the potential to come on an agricultural path. What three key things do you think government can concentrate on or focus on to achieve that?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’m not an agricultural expert, but I know that policies that promote and support and encourage the private sector and particularly small farmers to engage in agriculture are really important. So it requires an enabling environment, one. It requires legislation that will provide both the resources and the policies that will encourage farmers to commit to farming. And then I think it requires a stable environment that will allow for the private sector, for private citizens to engage in this market.

And again, as I said earlier, I think the potential is unlimited. Every single country on this continent has agricultural resources. Every single country on this continent has people resources. You have young people who are just champing at the bits to engage, and I think it’s going to require governments to make a commitment to these young people, make a commitment to building the agricultural base for this continent, and a commitment to ensure that you can feed your own people in the future.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you so much.


MODERATOR: Thanks for your time.