President Obama’s July 10–11 visit to Accra, Ghana, will be a “historic occasion,” says Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. He says it recognizes the progress Ghana has made — particularly in the area of democratization — which serves as an example to the rest of Africa.
In a recent interview with Africa News Report, Carson commended Ghana for holding “a very successful presidential and parliamentary election in December  and January of this year, which resulted in President John Atta Mills coming to power. It was the fifth successful democratic transition of power since the end of military rule there, but, more importantly, for all of Africa, [it serves] as an example of the power of democracy. It was the second time that the opposition party defeated the incumbent party, which clearly suggests that democracy has taken deep and strong root in Ghana.”
Additionally, Carson said: “Ghana was also the first state in sub-Saharan Africa to gain its independence and … today is one of the most vibrant economic and politically important countries in West Africa. Ghana has been a strong contributor to regional stability to African peacekeeping missions in West Africa as well as around the world, and it shortly will become a major producer of petroleum,” he added.
Ghana is a country that has “achieved a great deal and is setting a path of progress both on the economic and the political side,” Carson said. “The visit,” he explained, “will, in part, acknowledge Ghana’s success and progress, and we hope it will be the first of a number of visits by senior officials from the U.S. government to Africa.”
Carson said that “in recognition of Ghana’s success, both in the management of its democracy in country and the management of its economy, it has been recipient of one of the largest Millennium Challenge Account grants given by the United States — an amount in excess of $500 million, which will help to serve as a further catalyst to the development of one of Africa’s most important countries.”
The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which administers the Millennium Challenge Account grants, is a U.S. government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world. It was established in January 2004, based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom and investments in people. The MCC is working to reduce global poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic growth. It is currently active in more than 15 African countries.