The Vice President of the United States of America (USA), Kamala Harris, has recounted the twin effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, stating that their economy was damaged significantly.
According to her, whereas the pandemic led to the shutting down of industries amidst loss of lives, the “unprovoked” attack on Ukraine by Russia had resulted in rising cost of food and gas.
Madam Kamala Harris was responding to a question asked of her by The Chronicle when she and President Akufo-Addo engaged some journalists jointly at Jubilee House on Monday.
The Chronicle sought to know the extent of the impact on the US economy by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war if any, and the lessons smaller economies such Ghana could learn from the recovery efforts of the developed economies like that of her country.
Answering the question, the US Vice President took her time distinguishing the effects of COVID-19 on their economy from that of the war, and ended with the recovery measures.
She acknowledged that the US economy had not been immune to the global pandemic and the war.
She said: “When we think in particular of the days during the height of the pandemic, what that meant, not only in terms of the loss of life and normalcy, the loss of significant periods of education for our children.
But also, with the result in terms of the shutting down almost completely integral supply chain and have that influence, not only the ability of families to get and satisfy their basic needs. But it shutdown industries, and it really did bring our economy in the United States and globally significant damage. But we are recovering from that.”
She repeated a point that the attack by Russia on Ukraine was unprovoked, and then stressed the impact felt in the US, and the world as a whole.
“In particular, as it relates to problems of our abilities to have access to certain foods and grain in particular globally has been a great issue. So, we have seen a spike in the cost of food for example, and it is something that we are addressing. We saw inflated prices in terms of gas which [sic] a significant toll on American families. We are on our recovery because of some of the measures that our administration has taken to bring down the cost to American families.”
The effects of the pandemic and the war on the US economy appear not to be different from what Ghana experienced, but the government’s explanations have been met with stiff opposition.
Reports, including from the Ghana Statistical Service, show the impact of the pandemic, mentioning the consistent shrinking of the economy. Prices of goods and services shored up on daily, especially in the latter part of last year.
Meanwhile, many say the government could not continue to blame the pandemic and the war for the crisis the Ghanaian economy faced.
President Akufo-Addo, at the same event, indicated that Ghana was recovering from the crisis, and called for US support, which the Vice President agreed to. She even went on to add her voice to Ghana’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and urged other partners to also support Ghana’s bid.
Prescribing some lessons, the US Vice President indicated that what the US was doing as part of her recovery efforts was for nations to work together on the basis of shared principles.
She noted that was the reason she had taken a visit to the African Continent to boost US investments through the private sector on this bloc.
“What we can do [is] to engage in strengthening, not only our security, but our prosperity,” she said, citing that she was on the trip to Africa “knowing that it will generate prosperity to the benefit, not only to the people of this continent, but people in my country as well.”
The US Vice President was on a visit to Africa, commencing from Ghana. Ending her visit today in Ghana, she would visit Tanzania and end at Zambia.