Use Ghana as model for Africa - Foreign Minister urges Japan

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

The Minister of Foreign affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has asked the Japanese government to use Ghana as a model for Africa, to champion a continent beyond aid initiative.

She urged the Japanese government to use the Ghana beyond aid agenda, as the fulcrum for the 2019 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), to get other African leaders to change their mindset from heavy foreign dependence.

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TICAD is an event that is held regularly, to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
This year's event was attended by ministers from 53 African countries and development partners from International organisations.

Africa is ready

Speaking last Saturday, after addressing the second plenary session of the two-day TICAD Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, Japan on the topic; "Economic Transformation for Inclusive Growth", Ms Botchwey said President Akufo Addo's "Ghana Beyond Aid" agenda and for that matter "Africa Beyond Aid" initiative,had caught up with his colleague heads of state in Africa.


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"This is increasingly informing the negotiation patterns of African leaders with the developed world," she said.

In setting the agenda for the upcoming multilateral forum to be held in Yokohama August next year, Ms Botchwey urged the organisers and partners of TICAD to look beyond grants and loans for African countries, and focus on how Japan could make available to the continent, its technological know-how and intellectual properties in the manufacturing and electronic sectors for the rapid industrialisation of the African continent.

Ms Botchwey said Ghana and the rest of the African continent was ready to take control of their own development agenda with the support of Japan.

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"I wish to stress that the Ghana Beyond Aid vision and ideals are also in line with the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, which talks about the strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of Africa that builds on and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development," she said.

Ms Botchwey expressed optimism that when Africa embraced the African Beyond Aid initiative, it would not be long for it to realise the transformation that had eluded a greater part of the continent.

Economy

Regarding the country's economy, the Minister said Ghana's business environment continued to soar and that had raised investors’ confidence.

Ms Botchwey mentioned the performance of the recent Eurobond issued by the country which had been oversubscribed by about 400 per cent as one of the indicators that Ghana's economy was growing.

On another positive note, a renowned rating agency, standards and Poor's ( S& P) raised Ghana's long-term local and Foreign currency sovereign credit rating from B- to B+," she added.

Japan’s Foreign Minister

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Taro Kono, for his part, said the Japanese government was committed to assisting Africa to rise above its development challenges, especially in the area of infrastructure.

"I would like to reiterate that Japan supports democracy in Africa but at the same time we value Africa's own effort to find African solutions to African problems," he said.

Mr Kono said the Japaness government would not interfere in policies and programmes initiated by African governments irrespective of the numerous assistance and support programme it offered the continent.