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Japan supports Ghana’s industrialisation agenda

Mr Tsutomu Himeno and Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo exchanging greetings
Mr Tsutomu Himeno and Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo exchanging greetings

Japan has reopened its Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) office in Accra and indicated its preparedness to support the country in its industrialisation agenda.

The establishment of JETRO office in Ghana will help in building close collaboration with Ghana and other African countries and also attract Japanese investors into the

The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, made this known when he paid a courtesy call on the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, at his office in Accra.

Meeting

The two officials discussed matters of mutual interest to Ghana and Japan.


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The meeting was a follow-up on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s visit to Japan last year, during which he invited the Japanese government and the business community to invest in Ghana, in particular, to take advantage of the automobile manufacturing development policy the Ghana government had initiated.

Mr Himeno said the JETRO office in Ghana would support more investments from Japanese companies into the country, to take advantage of opportunities in the West Africa subregion.

JETRO is a Japanese government-related organisation that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world.

It was originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, but shifted its focus in the 21st century towards promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small-to-medium size Japanese firms to maximise their global export potential.

More support

Mr Himeno said the meeting was also to enable him to have a better appreciation of the kind of support Japan could offer the College of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which had written a proposal for Japanese government support.

He said the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe, had asked him to support the college, hence the need for him to find out more about the technical details of the needed support.

Senior Minister

For his part, Mr Osafo-Maafo recalled that the government had initiated the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy, and as a follow up, had received proposals from some well-known automobile companies in the world, to establish vehicle assembly plants in the country.

“Ghana has recently attracted considerable interest from major global vehicle manufacturers in response to government’s prioritisation of the automotive sector as a key strategic anchor of Ghana’s industrialisation plan,” the senior minister said, and encouraged the Japanese government to take advantage of the opportunity in the automobile manufacturing industry.

According to Mr Osafo-Maafo, 89 per cent of cars used in Ghana were second-hand, and the government, therefore, wanted to encourage the use of new cars, the reason for which it was ready to provide incentive packages to local and foreign automobile companies.

Ghana is currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a highly favourable investment climate, relatively efficient and rapidly expanding infrastructure (energy, ports, roads and rail).

The pursuit of industrialisation, places the country in a strategic position to become an automotive manufacturing hub in the ECOWAS subregion.

Mr Osafo-Maafo also encouraged the Japanese Ambassador to support the implementation of Ghana’s Public Sector Reforms, as a key mandate under his office to improve efficiency and service delivery for the citizens and the private sector.

He said the World Bank was partly funding the reforms and asked the Japanese government, which had an efficient public service delivery system, to assist with the funding and implementation of the reform.