Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo becomes second African leader to visit White House under Biden, discusses bilateral and regional ties, including Ethiopia, with Vice President Harris

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday became the second African leader to visit the White House under the Biden administration, a day after the new President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema was hosted by Vice President Kamala D. Harris.

“The two leaders emphasized a shared commitment to democratic values, including human rights, and they discussed the close ties between the people of both nations,” the White House’s statement said. “The Vice President applauded Ghana’s role as a democratic model in Africa, and highlighted Ghana’s efforts to strengthen government transparency and accountability.”

A senior administration official told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that hosting Presidents Hichilema and Akufo-Addo was a signal that the current U.S. government supports democracy and democrats all over the world, including in Africa.

The White House said the meeting between Harris and Akufo-Addo was arranged to “deepen the strong bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Ghana,” but both leaders also discussed regional issues, including the devastating crisis in Ethiopia.

Harris and Akufo-Addo also discussed the “cooperation and regional security, including by promoting peace and inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia,” the White House said.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerkii is welcomed by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo Mulugeta Ayene) 
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerkii is welcomed by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo Mulugeta Ayene)

The statement did not expand on the talks the two leaders had on Ethiopia, a country President Biden mentioned twice during his first address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in reference to human rights atrocities taking place in the Tigray region and elsewhere.

President Biden himself has not hosted any African leader himself, mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic that has limited White House visitors and consumed much of his time. However, an administration official told reporters on Wednesday that the Vice President speaks for the President and what she says comes from President Biden himself.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris pose for a photo as they ride in the Presidential limousine from Emory University in Atlanta Friday, March 19, 2021, to Peachtree Dekalb Airport. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris pose for a photo as they ride in the Presidential limousine from Emory University in Atlanta Friday, March 19, 2021, to Peachtree Dekalb Airport. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The White House said Vice President Harris and President Akufo-Addo also “expressed support for enhanced economic collaboration and additional U.S. investment in Ghana,” with Harris thanking Akufo-Addo for “his leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”

“The Vice President and President Akufo-Addo agreed to expand partnerships in the fight against climate change, including during Ghana’s upcoming tenure on the United Nations Security Council,” the readout of their talks said.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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