New JICA Rep Meets Foreign Minister

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (right) and Araki Yasumichi

The new Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Ghana Office, Araki Yasumichi, has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in Accra.

During the meeting, the Minister observed that relations between the two countries, particularly in recent years, have been strengthened and marked by close cooperation.

She stated that Ghana’s participation in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) last year goes to support this point.

She expressed Ghana’s appreciation for the continued support received from Japan in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy, including finance, infrastructure, agriculture, health, governance, culture and education, and trade, through initiatives and programmes introduced by the Japanese Government under African Business Education(ABE) Initiative and the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA).

The Minister recounted that last year, Ghana and Japan also signed the Exchange of Notes and Records of Discussion for the “Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development” under Japanese Development Scholarship (JDS) for 2019/2020 in Partnership with JICA to improve the capacity of Ghana’s workforce.

She mentioned current JICA cooperation projects, such as the Noguchi and Tema Intersection projects, that are on course to boost cooperation between our two countries; and that the Exchange of Notes for the grant programme “Project for the Improvement of the Tema Motorway Roundabout (Phase 2) will soon be signed.

She seized the opportunity to praise Japan’s decision to establish Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Ghana Office to facilitate Ghana’s engagement with Japan in the areas of trade and investment.

According to her, the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JPVC) Programme has since 1977 dispatched more than one thousand (1,000) Japanese young men and women to serve in the rural parts of Ghana in furtherance of the excellent bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, she briefed Mr. Araki of the following Government’s flagship policy/programmes aimed at enhancing the development of Ghana and boosting investor confidence in the country: Nation-wide industrialisation projects with focus on One-District-One-Factory (1D1F); modernisation of commercial agriculture, dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs”; National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan(NEIP); Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP); and Free Senior High School(FSHS); Presidential Initiative and the Nations Builder’s Corps (NABCO) to raise youth entrepreneurship that holds the key to supporting the industrialisation drive and address the youth unemployment of Ghana; Knowing the interest of JICA in the field of technical and vocational education, Acknowledged Government’s efforts aimed at expending resources towards the development of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Ghana and informed that Government is doing so by promoting TVET, and teaching TVET skills through theory and practice in order to prepare the students with employable skills in future.

She stressed that Government is also pursuing a Ghana beyond Aid Vision to build a wealthy, inclusive, sustainable, empowered and resilient Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny, and a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid.

Furthermore, she indicated that for being selected to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Ghana offers a very promising economic outlook to attract more Foreign Direct Investment to the wider African market and beyond.

BY Melvin Tarlue