The government of Japan has committed some $500 million to the Accra Initiative, saying it is its contribution towards achieving peace and stability for the Sahel region and the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Fumio Kishida, announced the package at Jubilee House on Monday, during a dinner held in his honor as part of his 2-day official visit to Ghana.
According to him, economic growth cannot be achieved without peace and stability, and applauded Ghana for engaging in the Accra Initiative.
“For the purpose of contributing to this end for the Sahel region and the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea and promoting sustainable growth, over the next three years Japan will provide assistance of approximately $500 million and through our assistance to the PKO training centers we will support the Accra initiative,” he said.
The Accra Initiative was created in September 2017 and operates with a permanent Secretariat in Accra. The initiative has Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo as member states, with Mali and Niger as observers.
The aim is to prevent spillover terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organised crime and violent extremism in member countries’ border areas.
The Prime Minister observed that Ghana plays a pivotal role in the West African economy, assuring that Japan would continue to provide support to propel growth in roads, transport and power.
The meeting with President Akufo-Addo, which preceded a press conference and the dinner, afforded the two the opportunity to discuss how to elevate the existing ties.
According to him, Japanese businesses expressed strong hope for Ghana and showed enthusiasm to promote investment on the continent with their presence in Ghana.
Mr. Fumio Kishida was the second Prime Minister to visit Ghana. The first, Junichiro Koizumi, visited Ghana 17 years ago, during former President Kufuor’s presidency, when Akufo-Addo was the Foreign Minister.
President Akufo-Addo recalled the contributions of Japan to Ghana, mentioning its medical doctor, Nuoguchi, who visited Ghana to undertake research into yellow fever disease, but eventually died of the same disease.
The 66-year relationship between Japan and Ghana, as President Akufo-Addo observed, had resulted in Japan providing various forms of assistance to Ghana “in almost all aspects of our national lives.”
He told the Prime Minister at a bilateral meeting and reiterated at the dinner that Ghana had decided to turn its back on the old economic system to implement a clear industrial policy like Japan.
As such, he continued that Ghana wants its relations with Japan to be characterized by increased trade and investment cooperation.
President Akufo-Addo raised for discussion the need for Japanese investment in agriculture and other sectors geared towards moving Ghana beyond aid.
Following the visit and the subsequent meeting, Ghana and Japan signed two agreements for projects geared towards boosting food security and strengthening human resources.
The agreements are for enhancing rice seed production capacity and the project for human resource development scholarships.