Why does the United States have a military base in Ghana?

Read Time: 4 minutes

An interview with Kwesi Pratt Jr., a journalist and leader of the Socialist Movement of Ghana

June 15, 2022 by Vijay Prashad

US soldiers train for “jungle warfare” in Ghana

In April 2018, the president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said that Ghana has “not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.” His comments came after Ghana’s parliament had ratified a new defense cooperation agreement with the United States on March 28, 2018, which was finally signed in May 2018. During a televised discussion, soon after the agreement was formalized in March 2018, Ghana’s Minister of Defense Dominic Nitiwul told Kwesi Pratt Jr., a journalist and leader of the Socialist Movement of Ghana, that Ghana had not entered into a military agreement with the United States. Pratt, however, said that the military agreement was a “source of worry” and was “a surrender of our [Ghanaian] sovereignty.”

In 2021, the research institute of Pratt’s Socialist Movement produced—along with the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research—a dossier on the French and US military presence in Africa. That dossier—“Defending Our Sovereignty: US Military Bases in Africa and the Future of African Unity”—noted that the United States has now established the West Africa Logistics Network (WALN) at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana. In 2019, then-US Brigadier General Leonard Kosinski said that a weekly US flight from Germany to Accra was “basically a bus route.” The WALN is a cooperative security location, which is another name for a US military base.

Now, four years later after the signing of the defense cooperation agreement, I spoke with Kwesi Pratt and asked him about the state of this deal and the consequences of the presence of the US base on Ghanaian soil. The WALN, Pratt told me, has now taken over one of the three terminals at the airport in Accra, and at this terminal, “hundreds of US soldiers have been seen arriving and leaving. It is suspected that they may be involved in some operational activities in other West African countries and generally across the Sahel.”

US soldiers don’t need passports

A glance at the US–Ghana defense agreement raises many questions. Article 12 of the agreement states that the US military can use the Accra airport without any regulations or checks, with US military aircraft being “free from boarding and inspection” and the Ghanaian government providing “unimpeded access to and use of [a]greed facilities and areas to United States forces.” Pratt told me that this agreement allows US soldiers “far more privileges than those prescribed in the Vienna Convention for diplomats. They do not need passports to enter Ghana. All they need is their US Army identity cards. They don’t even require visas to enter Ghana. They are not subject to customs or any other inspection.”

Ghana has allowed the United States armed forces “to use Ghanaian radio frequencies for free,” Pratt said. But the most stunning fact about this arrangement is that, he said, “If US soldiers kill Ghanaians and destroy their properties, the US soldiers cannot be tried in Ghana. Ghanaians cannot sue US soldiers or the US government for compensation if and when their relatives are killed, or their properties are destroyed by the US Army or soldiers.”

Why would Ghana allow this?

The US–Ghana agreement permits this disregard for Ghana’s sovereignty. Pratt told me that the political ideology of the Ghanaian government that is in power now has been to adhere to a long history of appeasement toward the demands made by colonial and Western states, beginning with Britain—which was the colonial power that ruled over the Gold Coast (the former name for Ghana) until 1957—and leading up to providing “unimpeded access” to the United States troops under the defense deal.

The current president of Ghana, Akufo-Addo, comes from the political ideology that the former prime minister of Ghana (1969-1972) Kofi Abrefa Busia also conformed to. In the early 1950s, Pratt told me, those following this ideology “dispatched a delegation to the United Kingdom to persuade the authorities that it was too early to grant independence to the Gold Coast.” This led to a coup in Ghana, where those supporting this ideology “collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow the [then-President of Ghana] Kwame Nkrumah government on February 24, 1966, and resisted [imposing] sanctions against the South African apartheid regime in 1969,” Pratt said. The current government, Pratt added, will do anything to please the United States government and its allies.

Why is the United States interested in Ghana?

The United States claims that its military presence on the African continent has to do with its counterterrorism campaign and aims to prevent the entry of China into this region. “There is no Chinese military presence in Ghana,” Pratt told me, and indeed the idea of Chinese presence is being used by the United States to deepen its military control over the continent for more prosaic reasons.

In 2001, then-US Vice President Dick Cheney’s National Energy Policy Development Group published the National Energy Policy. The contents of this report show, Pratt told me, that the United States understood that it could “no longer rely on the Middle East for its energy supplies. A shift to West Africa for [meeting the] US energy needs is imperative.” Apart from West Africa’s energy resources, Ghana “has huge national resources. It is currently the largest producer of gold in Africa and… [is among the top 10 producers] of gold in the world. It is the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world. It has iron, diamond, manganese, bauxite, oil and gas, lithium, and abundant water resources, including the largest man-made lake in the world.” Apart from these resources, Ghana’s location on the equator makes it valuable for agricultural development, and its large bank of highly educated English-speaking professionals makes it valuable for meeting the demands of the West’s service sector.

Apart from these economic issues, Pratt said, the United States government has intervened in Ghana—including in the coup of 1966—to prevent it from having a leadership role in the decolonization process in Africa. More recently, the United States has found Ghana to be a reliable ally in its various military and commercial projects across the continent. It is toward those projects, and not the national interest of the Ghanaian people, Pratt said, that the United States has now built its base in a part of Accra’s civilian airport.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest book is Washington Bullets, with an introduction by Evo Morales Ayma.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

46 thoughts on “Why does the United States have a military base in Ghana?

  1. you’re in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The website loading
    pace is incredible. It sort of feels that you
    are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork.
    you’ve performed a fantastic job in this subject!

  2. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all.
    However think of if you added some great graphics or video clips to
    give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images
    and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the very best in its field.

    Superb blog!

  3. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  4. I have read some excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you put to create one of these wonderful informative website.

  5. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  6. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  7. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity on your submit is simply cool and i can assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grasp your feed to stay up to date with imminent post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  8. Along with every thing that seems to be building throughout this particular subject matter, a significant percentage of points of view are generally somewhat stimulating. Having said that, I appologize, because I can not subscribe to your entire theory, all be it stimulating none the less. It looks to everyone that your commentary are not totally justified and in actuality you are generally your self not even completely confident of the assertion. In any event I did take pleasure in looking at it.

  9. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  10. Somebody necessarily lend a hand to make seriously posts I might state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual publish amazing. Magnificent process!

  11. Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  12. I truly wanted to develop a quick message so as to say thanks to you for the nice tricks you are giving out at this website. My time consuming internet lookup has now been recognized with good strategies to share with my family members. I ‘d mention that most of us site visitors actually are definitely endowed to be in a decent place with so many lovely people with beneficial opinions. I feel rather fortunate to have come across your web pages and look forward to really more amazing moments reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  13. magnificent points altogether, you simply won a brand new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your submit that you just made some days in the past? Any certain?

  14. Hi, i believe that i noticed you visited my site thus i got here to “go back the favor”.I am attempting to to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its adequate to make use of some of your concepts!!

  15. I have been browsing on-line more than three hours lately, but I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It¦s beautiful value sufficient for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the net might be a lot more useful than ever before.

  16. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  17. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really loved surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing in your feed and I’m hoping you write once more very soon!

  18. Usually I don’t learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post.

  19. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely magnificent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful web site.

  20. Admiring the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  21. naturally like your website however you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I?¦ll certainly come back again.

  22. FitSpresso is a natural weight loss supplement crafted from organic ingredients, offering a safe and side effect-free solution for reducing body weight.

  23. I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *