By Maxwell Ofori .
Officials from Japan have indicated plans to have an office in Ghana, Accra to be precise, to coordinate the external trade activities between both countries and beyond.
The new Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, who made the announcement, explained the move was to attract more Japanese investors into the country.
Known as the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the setting up of the office in Ghana would be “a way of building close collaboration with Ghana and other African countries,” the Ambassador said.
He made these known last week Tuesday, February 5, 2019, when he paid a courtesy call on the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo at his Office.
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. 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.
That aside, the meeting with the Senior Minister was hinged on three agendum –including the setting up of the JETRO office by way of partnering Ghana in its quest to becoming an industrialisation hub.
H.E. Tsutomu Himeno, who was accompanied by Dr. Masamichi Yamashita, in charge of international development, indicated that the Japanese government is prepared to partner the government of Ghana in its industrialisation agenda through investment by the Japanese business community, thus the opening of an office to regulate its investors.
Another agenda was to follow up on President Akufo-Addo’s invitation to the government of Japan and its business community to take advantage of the automobile manufacturing development policy the Ghana Government has initiated to invest in the country.
Lastly, the meeting also was to fulfill 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, in terms of technical and skills development training, at the premier Technology University in Ghana.
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.
Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, in response, 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 Senior Minister, 89% of cars used in Ghana are second hand vehicles whilst 10% are new cars.
Ostensibly, Government, the Senior Minister noted, 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.
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, whilst acknowledging that the World Bank is partly funding same.
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.