Ghana and Japan have signed an agreement and exchange of notes and record of discussions for three projects.
They include: “The Project for the Improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout (Phase 2) (Detailed Design)”, “The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarships (JDS)” and “The Economic and Social Development Programme (Provision of Medical Equipment)”.
Mr Charles Owiredu, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, initialed for Ghana, while Mr Tsutomu Himeno, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, signed for his country.
The Deputy Minister said the agreement signing was not only a testament of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation existing between Ghana and Japan, but also an evidence of their rapidly developing relationship, which had been marked by close affinity and cooperation in recent times.
He said, it is his hope that the bilateral relations between Ghana and Japan would continue to grow from strength to strength.
“Ghana and Japan have enjoy friendly and cordial bilateral relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations some six decades ago and we have continued to work together to strengthen relations for the benefit of our two countries and peoples,” he said.
“Occasions, like the one we are about to witness today, play an important role in strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation that our two countries have shared over the years”.
Mr Owiredu said the cooperation and engagements between the two countries has seen Ghana benefitting from various forms of development assistance from Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japanese programmes like the African Business Education (ABE) Initiative and the Overseas Development Assistance Scheme, particularly in the areas of improving maternal and child healthcare, transportation, energy, agriculture and human resource development.
“Regarding the Project for the Improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout, you may recall the recent commissioning of the Phase I of the project on Friday, 5th June, 2020, by the President,” Mr Owiredu.
“This was in line with the President’s vision to improve the capacity, safety and efficiency of transport and freight on the Tema Motorway Roundabout, as well as facilitate trade and transit in the West African sub-region.”
He said the Phase II of the project, which was scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of this year, would see the transformation of the parallel two-tier interchange into a three-tier one to further improve the turnaround time at the interchange.
He said besides the Tema Motorway Roundabout project, Japan was supporting Ghana in the construction of a new bridge across the Volta River on the Eastern corridor, among other ongoing projects in the country.
“It is my hope that the projects when completed would ensure safe, efficient road transportation and contribute to the efficient flow of goods and services,” he said.
With regards to the JDS, the Minister underscored the importance of human resource development as an essential tool for nation building and a backbone for a resilient economy.
He said since 2012, the Government of Japan has been offering the JDS to Ghanaian Government officials as a way of providing them with opportunities for academic research in Japanese graduate schools.
The JDS programme, which is held every year, is conducted in English and affords its recipients the benefits of innovation and technical cooperation from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including agriculture, health, energy and economics.
Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Owiredu said, the decision of the Japanese Government to support Ghana with medical equipment and supplies is timely, regarding the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases recorded in the country.
He said the grant would augment the efforts of the Government of Ghana in further strengthening the country’s health sector in the fight against the pandemic and other diseases.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, and in my own name, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for their unyielding support for Ghana’s socio-economic development,” he said.
“I wish to assure the Government and people of Japan that these grants would be used for their intended purposes for the benefit of the people of Ghana.”