The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has expressed the government’s desire to conclude negotiations with the Japanese side on the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). This the government intends doing by resolving all outstanding issues that have been pending since April 2014.
She believes the agreement, when finally signed, will help to deepen trade and investment cooperation with Japan. She said the establishment of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Accra in December, 2020, as well as the Japan-Ghana Business Council in December, 2019 are evidence of both countries’ commitment to prioritizing cooperation in that regard.
Speaking to the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Himeno Tsutomu, when he paid a working visit to the Foreign Ministry, Ms Botchwey noted that the commencement of trading under AfCFTA should encourage Japanese investors to step up their investment engagement in Ghana. She mentioned, particularly, investments in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing, education, tourism, health, energy, petrochemical industry, infrastructure development, manufacturing and trade.
She welcomed the news that Toyota Tsusho had established a Toyota & Suzuki Assembling Plant in Ghana, with the first car roll-out expected in 2021 and the fact that other Japanese Corporations such as Nissan, Sumitomo, Mitsui, Ajinomoto, Itochu, Marubeni, Fuji Oil, and Lotte have also extended their operations to Ghana.
Furthermore, the Foreign Minister welcomed preparations being made by Japan focusing on ensuring a successful 8th Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD 8). The conference is scheduled to be held in Tunisia in 2022.
She commended the regular consultations with the African Union Commission (AUC), through the Permanent Representatives Committee, as well as through the Tokyo Africa Ambassadors Club (TAC) on the priority issues for TICAD 8.
Ms Botchwey noted that following the adoption of the TICAD 7 Declaration and Action Plan, the co-organizers have focused on the development of a Monitoring Strategy for the Action Plan agreed on.
“It is worth pointing out that Japan has always insisted that TICAD is not a Funding Agency, hence AU must fund, in full, all activities it has indicated in its Action Plan. These include AU flagship programmes and projects,” she said.
The Minister therefore expressed Ghana’s willingness to cooperate with Japan to promote the latter’s vision of coming closer to Africa and assured him of Ghana’s active participation in TICAD 8.
Taking his turn, the Ambassador informed her that the Japanese government will host the next Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) in December 2021.
According to him, the summit is an opportunity to set the world on a pathway towards achieving the SDG targets – in particular, to end malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 and strengthen the link between diet, food systems and health.
“Its timing is key, with 5 years to achieve the 2025 World Health Assembly targets, and 10 years to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. At N4G, the government of Japan aims to work with partners to galvanise commitments from governments, civil society, private sector, donor agencies and the UN to end malnutrition in all its forms,” he said.
Mr Tsutomu said that the summit will discuss a wide range of issues related to malnutrition and present ways that the global community can tackle those issues with nutrition partners all over the world.
Five thematic areas have been set for discussion at the summit, they are health, food, resilience accountability and financing.