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Ghana: Press zooms in on US President-elect’s letter to Ghanaian leader, others

The letter from United States President-elect Joe Biden to Ghana's President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on good working relations is…

The letter from United States President-elect Joe Biden to Ghana’s President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on good working relations is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that the United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden says he looks forward to working with Ghana’s President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to address the common problems facing both countries.

In a letter dated December 2020, Biden who will be sworn in as US President on January 20, said that he regretted that he had not yet spoken to Akufo-Addo on phone.

He wrote: “It is my great honour to have been elected the next president of the United States, and I understand just how much work lies ahead of us. Vice President-elect Harris and I will take office at a time of great global challenges-from the coronavirus to climate change–that transcend borders and require international cooperation. We look forward to working with you and your government on addressing the common problems facing our countries and our peoples.

“Thank you again, President Akufo-Addo. I look forward to future dialogue”.

The letter was shared on Facebook by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr. Eugene Arhin

The newspaper says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will, in keeping with the time-honoured constitutional tradition, deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament today, telling the country about the government’s successes, challenges and pipeline initiatives in the previous year.

The nature of the address does not only reflect on past initiatives — President Akufo-Addo will touch on critical issues that may set the tone for his second term in office after being declared the winner of the presidential election on December 7, 2020.

SONA is highly significant for a participatory democracy such as Ghana’s that is characterised by an open and transparent relationship between the government and the people. The President addresses the nation and informs Ghanaians of the government’s work.

President Akufo-Addo will, as per constitutional practice, appear before Parliament to give his address for the fourth time since becoming President of the country.

According to Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, “the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation.”

The President, who is gearing up for his inauguration on Thursday to continue with his stewardship for another four-year term, is therefore expected to announce some new initiatives and programmes as well as do an assessment of ongoing projects and policies which would ultimately chart a path on which his administration would be steering the development of the country.

Highly expected on the roll of priorities is the state of the country’s economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first case of which was recorded in the country in March last year.

Much of 2020 has been consumed by the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic crisis it sparked.

The Graphic also reports that the swearing-in ceremony of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on January 7, 2021, will take place under a tent that has been mounted on the precincts of Parliament House, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has said.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told the Parliament that a new facility- a white tent—had been mounted to allow for strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, such as social distancing.

He also said for the large number of Heads of State and dignitaries, who had been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony, using the Chamber would not be suitable.

“Certainly, seating in the Chamber cannot accommodate that,” he said when he presented the business statement on the floor of Parliament yesterday.

The President’s swearing-in is expected to attract a large number of leaders from West Africa, among other world leaders.

More than 15 African Heads of State attended the January 7, 2017 ceremony, including President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, who was also the Special Guest of Honour.

The Times says that Ghana cedi ended last year with a depreciation rate of 3.93 percent to the US dollar, making it one of the best performing currencies in Sub Saharan Africa.

The impressive performance also makes it the best since 2017 when it depreciated by only 4.88 percent.

At the forex bureau, the rate of depreciation was even lower at 2.2 percent.

Joy Business learnt the local currency actually appreciated in the final two-weeks of December 2020 at the forex bureau, from a depreciation rate of 3.1 percent.

Analysts believe that the cedi has benefited from a myriad of factors, including the Bank of Ghana’s Forex Forward Auction and the diversified exports.

The newspaper reports that Ghana bagged $2.89 billion from Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) in 2019, according to figures from the Ghana Exports Promotions Authority (GEPA).

The 2019 non-traditional exports earnings was 3.10 percent higher than that of 2018 which was estimated at $2.83 billion.

According to GEPA, non-traditional exports accounted for 8.53 percent of total exports last year.

Over the last five years (2015 to 2019), Ghana’s NTEs grew at an annual average rate of 2.97 percent and contributed 18 percent to total national merchandise exports of Ghana in 2019.

The appreciation in non-traditional exports is associated with higher performance in the processed and semi- processed products sector, particularly, cocoa cake, palm oil, iron and steel products.

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