The new Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, has paid a courtesy call on the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, at his Office on Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, to discuss a partnership agreement with the government of Ghana in its industrialization agenda.

The two officials discussed matters of mutual interest to Ghana and Japan and afforded both sides the opportunity to engage on a number of issues. First, was a follow-up on His Excellency the President Nana Akufo-Addo’s visit to Japan last year, where he invited the Japanese government and the business community to invest in Ghana and to take advantage of the automobile manufacturing development policy the Ghana Government has initiated.

Secondly, the Ambassador officially informed the Government of Ghana about establishment of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) office in Accra. Thirdly, to fulfil a request made by the Prime Minister of Japan in line with a written proposal from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for Japanese government support for the College of Engineering.

The visit was also to obtain more details about the proposal from KNUST for Japanese Government support for the College of Engineering in terms of technical and skills development training at the premier Technology University in Ghana.

H.E. Tsutomu Himeno who was accompanied by Dr. Masamichi Yamashita in charge of international development, indicated that, the Japanese government was prepared to partner the government of Ghana in its industrialization agenda through investment by the Japanese business community.

According to him, the establishment of the JETRO office in Ghana was to attract Japanese investors into the country, as well to pave way for building close collaboration with Ghana and other African countries.

The Ambassador was acting on the request by the Prime Minister of Japan to support the College. He assured the Senior Minister of Japan providing the needed support to the College of Engineering.

JETRO is a Japanese government-related organization 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. JETRO’s core focus in the twenty-first century has shifted towards promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo in response, told the Japanese Ambassador that in 1970s and 1980s, JETRO once had an office in Ghana. He clearly indicated that government has initiated the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy and some proposals have been received from well-known automotive companies in the world for the establishment of vehicle assembly plant.

The Senior Minister encouraged the Japan government to take advantage of the opportunity in the automobile manufacturing industry. He indicated that, 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 industrialization plan.

According to the Senior Minister, 89% of cars used in Ghana are second hand vehicles whilst 10% are new cars. Government therefore wants to encourage the use of new cars and would thus provide incentive packages to local and foreign automobile companies in order to attract new vehicles into the country.

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 industrialization, places Ghana in a strategic position to become an automotive manufacturing hub in the ECOWAS sub-region.

In the discussion, the Senior Minister encouraged the Japanese Ambassador to support the implementation of the Public Sector Reforms as a key mandate under his Office which seeks to improve efficiency and service delivery for citizens and the private sector.

Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo indicated that, the World Bank was partly funding the Ghana’s Public Sector Reforms and asked the Japanese government which has an efficient public service delivery system, to assist with the funding and implementation of the reform.

The Senior Minister was elated about the visit as a positive effort in building mutual relations with Japan. He called for more strengthening of the relationship between the two countries for economic growth and development.

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