Mr Araki Yasumichi, the new Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Ghana Office, has paid a courtesy call on Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Region in her office in Accra.
A statement issued by the Ministry, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, on Wednesday, March 11, said Madam Botchwey acknowledged the very warm and friendly relations between Ghana and Japan.
She stated that the bilateral relations had been strengthened and marked by close cooperation, particularly, in recent years.
Madam Botchwey recalled Ghana’s participation in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), saying it buttressed the point of bonding for fruitful cooperation.
The Minister expressed Ghana’s appreciation for the continued support received from Japan in the various sectors of the Ghanaian economy, including Finance, Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Governance, Culture, Education, and Trade.
These had been facilitated through initiatives and programmes introduced by the Japanese Government under African Business Education (ABE) initiative and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Ghana and Japan, the Minister said, also last year signed the Exchange of Notes and Records of Discussion for the “Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development” under the Japanese Development Scholarship (JDS) for 2019/2020 in Partnership with JICA to improve the capacity of Ghana’s workforce.
Madam Botchwey mentioned some of the current JICA cooperation projects, such as the Noguchi and Tema Intersection projects, which she said, were on course.
The Exchange of Notes for the grant programme, for the second phase of the “Project for the Improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout would soon be signed.
At present, JICA’s cooperation with Ghana is primarily focused on Agriculture (rice cultivation); Economic infrastructure (electricity and transport); Health and Science/Mathematics Education; and capacity development in Administrative and Financial Management.
Mrs Botchwey also lauded Japan’s decision to establish the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Ghana Office to facilitate Ghana’s engagement with Japan in the areas of trade and investment.
Madam Botchwey stated that the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JPVC) Programme had since 1977 deployed more than 1,000 Japanese young men and women to serve in the rural parts of Ghana to facilitate holistic development.
She briefed Mr Araki on the Government’s flagship policy/programmes aimed at enhancing the development of Ghana and boosting investor confidence.
These include the nation-wide industrialisation projects with focus on One-District-One-Factory (1D1F); modernisation of commercial agriculture, dubbed, “Planting for Food and Jobs”; National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP); Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP); and Free Senior High School (FSHS).
Others are the Presidential Initiative and the Nations Builders’ Corps (NABCO) to raise youth entrepreneurship, which holds the key to supporting the industrialisation drive and address youth unemployment.
Acknowledging the interest of JICA in the field of technical and vocational education, the Minister explained the Government’s efforts at developing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to prepare the students with employable skills for the future.
The Government was also pursuing a “Ghana Beyond Aid” Vision to build a wealthy, inclusive, sustainable, empowered and resilient Ghana, in charge of its economic destiny- prosperous enough to progress beyond needing aid.
For being selected to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she said, Ghana offered a very promising economic outlook to attract more Foreign Direct Investments to the wider African market and beyond.
The Minister assured Mr Araki of the Ministry’s of continued support in discharging his duties in Ghana effectively, while wishing him a successful tenure in office.