Relevance of TICAD must be enhanced

BY: Daily Graphic
Relevance of TICAD must be enhanced
Relevance of TICAD must be enhanced

The seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development ( TICAD 7) is underway in the Japanese port city of Yokohama.

The global platform is focusing primarily on the three pillars of economy, society and peace and security on the African continent.

Participating in the conference are President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and dozens of other African leaders and officials from a range of international organisations.

The TICAD has, over the years, served as a huge platform for Africa and Japan to explore new areas of bilateral and multilateral relations and we at the Daily Graphic trust that it continues to play a critical role in development across Africa.

Ghana has had cordial ties with Japan over the years. Right from the First Republic under Ghana’s First President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Japan-Ghana relations have grown from strength to strength.

Indeed, countries such as ours attach a lot of importance to their relations with Japan because of the mutual benefits that those relations bring to those countries.

Friendly diplomatic relations have played a major role in strengthening the economies of countries involved in such alliances, especially through trade, the giving of grants and loans, as well as the extension of lines of credit.

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The Daily Graphic thinks that enhanced bilateral and multilateral ties have become key vehicles through which misunderstandings between and among nations can be prevented and conflicts resolved.

That is why a platform such as TICAD cannot be underestimated, for which reason every effort must be made to sustain its relevance in global affairs.

It is our expectation that the ongoing forum will explore new avenues to further enhance the already existing good relations between Japan and Africa.

Exploring new relations in trade and investment, the sharing of technology and improving person-to-person relations to help bridge the developmental gap, in our view, must be the way to go to enhance bilateral and multilateral relations among TICAD members.

We recall Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assurance to African countries during the last conference in Kenya in 2016 to view Tokyo as a partner, instead of a mere donor.

The Daily Graphic is happy that the assurance falls in line with Ghana’s development policy, which is now centred on the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, spearheaded by the President, with Ghana’s relations with its international donor partners now focused more on development.

We also share in President Akufo-Addo’s view that the private sector holds the key to our envisaged development when he referred to the East Asian Miracle that saw the 23 countries of East Asia, especially Japan, placing premium on their private sector.

We challenge our government to also provide the however critical support for the sector in Ghana in order for us to see the type of development in those Asian economies here.

Within all these, we must embrace fully the advances made in the digital world to help drive growth and increased productivity in our economy, as stated by President Akufo-Addo.

Japan’s Official Development Assistance to Ghana started in 1963 and runs into millions of dollars in aid and bilateral trade. Already, Ghana is privileged to have the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. We remember vividly Japan’s debt relief of over $1 billion in 2004 and its commitment of $56 billion in 2017 to the improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout and the 31.2-kilometre national trunk road, the N8, from Assin Fosu to Assin Praso, among many others.

The above can only inform us that Japan means well for Africa and Ghana.

We must, therefore, take TICAD seriously and look at how it can serve as a launch pad for our economic growth.