Mr Koji Makino, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Country Representative to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, said, for a start, an amount of $100 million concessionary loan would be given to Ghana.
The loan is to be used for the reconstruction of a bridge over the Volta River at Kpong in the Eastern Region to help contain the volume of traffic on the Adomi Bridge.
He said the bridge, when completed, would go a long way to strengthen the capacity of the Eastern Corridor Road; thereby accelerating Ghana’s socio-economic development.
Mr Makino, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale during his three-day tour of JICA-funded projects in the Northern Region, said despite Ghana’s rising debts, the Japanese government had confidence in Ghana’s economy and in its ability to repay loans.
He said the concessionary loan repayment schedule would begin in about 10 years’ time, adding that the concessionary loan was virtually interest-free.
He recounted that Japan’s Official Development Assistance to Ghana started in 1963 and amounted to an average of 10 billion yen (over $100 million) annually between 1980 and 2000, making Japan the largest bilateral partner to Ghana.
He said in 2004, Japan granted a debt relief to Ghana worth about 105 billion yen (one billion dollars), the largest amount exempted by a creditor country.
Japan withdrew its loan assistance following the decision by Ghana in 2001 to join the league of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).
It would be recalled that in May 2013, President John Dramani Mahama at the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, appealed to
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the resumption of Japanese loans to Ghana.
Mr Makino said currently, JICA, in collaboration with the government of Ghana, was implementing cooperation in six sectors namely health, infrastructure, agriculture, education, governance and private sector development.
The Country Representative said these project areas were selected through a dialogue with the government of Ghana based on her development strategy and Japan’s cooperation strategy outlined in the Tokyo International Conference for African Development.
Mr Makino said JICA would continue to provide support for capacity development, policy and institutional capacity improvement as well as social and economic infrastructure, thereby stimulating sustained poverty reduction through equitable growth and human empowerment.
The Northern Region JICA projects include the Tensui Two Project for Sustainable Development of Rainfed Lowland Rice Production Phase Two, and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers in Ghana.
Others are the construction of electricity sub – transmission stations for the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) in Tamale and Sunyani, and the National KAIZEN Project.
During his three-day tour of the region, Mr Makino also held discussions with beneficiaries of the Japanese government training programme at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.