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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Ghana President Visits Annenberg

President Mahama discussed his new "Made in Ghana" initiative.

On October 1st, Secret Service and LAPD officers flooded Wallis Annenberg Hall in anticipation of a very distinguished guest. Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama, visited the USC campus to discuss the importance of media and communications in a globalizing world. 

The event attracted hundreds of community members. Only 150 were allowed to be in the panel room, so students overflowed into the main lobby of the building where the event was being live-streamed. 

The President discussed a new media initiative for his country entitled, “Made in Ghana." The effort aims to create a new global identity for Ghana by promoting things that are made in the country. He used chocolate as an example. 

“When you think of Switzerland you think of political neutrality, you think of offshore banking, you think of watches, and you think of chocolate,” the President said in the panel. “Yes, famous Swiss chocolate.” 

President Mahama described his reaction when a Ghanaian friend asked him to bring back some Swiss chocolate before the President was scheduled to visit Switzerland. 

“My mind settled on the word no. No I would not bring him or anybody else chocolate from Switzerland…why would I when Ghana has some of the best chocolate in the world? Switzerland doesn’t even grow cocoa.” 

Although said with a smile, the President’s light-hearted anecdote highlighted an important issue - one that he had traveled thousands of miles to discuss with his audience in the United States. 

Ghana is one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Africa. Yet, they still face much of the stigma associated with the entire continent. “For quite a long time, Africa was seen as a continent that was characterized only by famine, by wars, by all kinds of negative things,” President Mahama said. 

“That’s changing,” he continued. “Media has changed the world today and Ghana is at the forefront of the changing media landscape.” 

The “Made in Ghana” effort is one such media initiative intended to portray his country more accurately to the rest of the global community. As he finished a pint of chocolate ice cream made from cocoa beans made in Ghana, President Mahama expressed his hopes that the initiative will succeed in helping Ghana achieve its goal. 

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