Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, the Vice- Chancellor of the University of Ghana, says Ghana has lost out on integrity as a nation with traits such as respect, nationalism, selflessness and hard work diminishing.
“We use to walk around with pride in these traits but now what is happening to this country….We need to ask ourselves for all these,” Prof Oduro Owusu stated at the opening of the second edition of the two day Centre for Asian Studies International conference in Accra, on Monday.
The conference, which is on the theme: “60 years of Ghana-Japan Relations Reflections on an Enduring Partnership for Development,” is funded by the Japan Foundation. Attributing the developmental strides of Japan to their culture, Prof Oduro Owusu advised Ghanaians to bid their time by working hard and making sure the country did not lose all of her culture. He also bemoaned the Ghanaian culture of not respecting time and urged the citizenry to adopt a positive attitudinal change towards the practice, as in Japan, good time management is ethics of character. “Japan has also developed because of their respect for time,” he said. Dr Lloyd G. Adu Amoah, the Acting Director of the Centre for Asian Studies, called on stakeholders to build institutions based on what the country want, especially at the level of industrialization. There must also be room for experts and knowledgeable people to be in charge, keep linkages and be strategic in the next 60 years to help save Ghana in her relations with Japan and other countries, he said. Dr Adu Amoah also called on universities to help by being a catalyst of thinking along areas of development. Prof Kweku Ampiah, a Professor in Japanese Studies at Leeds University, said for Ghana to catch up with her counterparts, there was the need for suitable education as a transformational tool. He has, therefore, called for an effective universal primary education for Ghanaians and urged policy makers to take a cue from Japan. “By so doing, education will be extended far so that human capacities can be utilised in our economy,” he said. Mr Karou Yoshimura, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, said Japan and Ghana enjoyed deep and friendly relationship, and that, the conference was another landmark to further the bond. Mr Yoshimura noted that Japan’s development in the last 60 years had been as a result of democracy and foundation in economic development. He mentioned peace and democracy as being Ghana’s developmental pillars and attributed the country’s middle income status to population increase. Mr Yoshimura ranked Ghana as the third country with the highest Japanese population of 346 in Africa with South Africa being first with 1, 469 people. In terms of Japanese companies in Africa, South Africa maintained the first position with 280 companies whereas Ghana had 36, adding that “There has been an increase of 14 in the last five years in Ghana,” he noted. He said Nigeria has the largest number of Africans in Japan with 2, 945 people, followed by Ghana with 2, 311 and South Africa has 1,162.