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Media invitation: Obangame Express opening ceremony at GAF Command and Staff College

More than 30 countries from around the world, along with several regional and international organizations, are set to begin the multinational maritime exercise, Obangame Express. The week-long exercise will improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise, with the goal of increasing the capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illegal activity.

The opening ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in Accra, Ghana, at the GAF Command and Staff College. Media are asked to arrive at 9:30 a.m., in order to be in place for the seating of the guests at 9:45 a.m.

Media who are interested in covering the event should contact Commander Michael Larbi at 026 436 0795 and Information Officer Sara Veldhuizen Stealy at 024 433 2469 (SMS or call) or 020 856 5036 (WhatsApp) or via email at Please RSVP no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22.

Speakers and attendees to include:

  • U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson
  • Honorable Minister of Defense Dominic Nitiwul
  • Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
  • Honorable Minister of the Interior Ambrose Dery
  • Vice Admiral Christopher Grady, Commander U.S. 6th Fleet, and Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa
  • Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, Chief of Navy Staff, Ghana
  • Rear Admiral Djakaridja Konaté, Côte d’Ivoire Chief of Naval Staff

Details: Media will be permitted to cover the opening ceremony, which will be followed by a question and answer session.

Added bonus: Please note that the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet Band will be performing.

B-Roll and photos: Ceremony imagery will be made available to journalists following the opening ceremony for those unable to attend.

The below digital properties will contain event updates and available imagery for download:

Background: Exercise Obangame Express is one of three African regional Express series exercises facilitated annually by the U.S. Navy. The objective is to increase regional cooperation, improve Maritime Domain Awareness and expand interoperability among participating forces.

The former Saharan Express exercise has been fully absorbed into Obangame Express this year after a combined exercise in 2016.

The word “Obangame” comes from the Fang language of southern Cameroon and other parts of Central Africa and means “togetherness.” This name was selected by African participants in 2010 to show the importance of regional cooperation between all the Navies of the Gulf of Guinea. 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of the United States - Accra - Ghana.