Ghana’s National Assembly on Friday (March 23rd) ratified a military agreement giving the United States “unfettered” access to its territory. In concrete terms, the United States will have the right to deploy soldiers and military equipment as they please. In return, Ghana’s armed forces are expected to receive $20 million, including training.
In the agreement, it should be specified whether access to certain Ghanaian facilities is reserved exclusively in the United States or shared with their Ghanaian partner. “Ghana must also allow access and use of a runway that meets the needs of US forces,” says the document.
Also, according to the text, the US military will be able to use the radio spectrum for free and will also be exempt from taxes on the importation of equipment on the territory.
In return, the United States will provide twenty million dollars in training and equipment for the Ghanaian army, joint exercises will also be implemented.
A target for terrorists?
For the opposition, which has boycotted the vote in the National Assembly, this agreement is likely to undermine the sovereignty of the country.
A number of Ghanaians are also worried about their safety, according to Kobi Annan, an analyst with Songhai Advisory, consultants based in Accra and London. “Many people fear rightly or wrongly that this agreement increases the risk of a terrorist attack. We have seen that countries in the region, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, have been the target of attacks. Jihadist groups will, without a shadow of a doubt, target American positions in Ghana if they have the opportunity. You must not hide your face, so many people are opposed to this military agreement with the United States. The debate is not really new, at the time of President George W. Bush, there had been talk of setting up the US military command for Africa in Ghana. The Americans had denied. But the fact remains that military cooperation has been at the heart of relations between Ghana and the United States for some time.”