Ghana/Japan forge stronger economic ties

BY: Emmanuel Bruce

In a bid to strengthen business exchanges between Ghana and Japan, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has officially opened its office in Ghana.


The JETRO Office in Ghana is expected to focus on three main pillars of activities which include; trade and investment promotion, exhibitions and business delegation in Ghana and Japan; and research and policy proposals.

Despite commencing its business in the country in March 2020, the opening of its office had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced countries into lockdowns.

Speaking at the opening, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JETRO, Mr Nobuhiko Sasaki, said the COVID-19 pandemic calls for the need for companies to leverage digital technologies in order to stay relevant.

As such, he said JETRO was collaborating with domestic and overseas partners to digitize its services.

He said the organization was building systems for online business matching and utilizing e-commerce.

This, he said was to help as many companies as possible to proactively engage in overseas operations.

“We will continue our utmost efforts in developing more facilitating and active business exchange between Japan and other countries through digital transformation in various fields.

“JETRO’s role continues to include assisting not only large corporations but also small and medium sized enterprises and producers of agricultural, forestry, fishery, and food products,” he stated.

Mr Sasaki also pointed out that the organization had been supporting investment into frontier markets where population and income levels were increasing.

He said regional revitalization, especially vitalization of local economies was a major issue for Japan.

“While securing overseas sales channels for local companies and producers, we are also disseminating information on regional advantages and establishing innovation ecosystems by attracting foreign companies and human resources.

“Through these efforts, our offices established in all prefectures actively engage in bringing business opportunities with other countries into each local region in Japan,” he explained.

Important development

Also speaking at the opening, the opening, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the office opening was an important development towards deepening cooperation between Ghana and Japan.

He said with Ghana determined to become the fulcrum of intra-Africa trade and the new hub of Africa’s industrialization, JETRO’s presence in the country would help the Ministry of Trade and Industry implement Ghana’s comprehensive industrial transformation programme.

“Industrialization is a matter of utmost priority and urgency for this government, especially in addressing the challenge of job creation for our youthful population, and in exploiting fully the opportunities available for made in Ghana products in export markets.”

“We in Ghana, look forward to more substantial investment by Japanese companies into the manufacturing sector for Ghana to realize its full potential, as a regional manufacturing hub for Africa,” he stated.

Growing confidence

For his part, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, said the establishment of a JETRO Office in Ghana to promote trade and investments undoubtedly reinforced the growing confidence in the leadership of the country.

He said the government seeks to enhance the productive capacity of the local private sector to position them to partner with foreign investors including Japanese investors to take full advantage of the numerous opportunities prevailing in the economy.

The minister also gave the assurance that his Ministry would work with JETRO to attract more Japanese investments into Ghana to take advantage of numerous opportunities in the Ghanaian economy.

Background

Ghana and Japan concluded a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the opening of a JETRO office in Accra on August 29, 2019.

This was after President Akufo-Addo had expressed hope, when he attended the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in 2018, for the presence of the Japanese agency in Ghana.

As part of the opening of the JETRO office, Ghana and Japan signed a memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and JETRO to enhance economic and trade relations between the two nations.