The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, says the government intends to promote the exchange of high-level visits and interactions between Ghanaian and Japanese leaders at all levels, as part of efforts to strengthen diplomatic relations between Ghana and Japan.
According to her, the government has therefore encouraged Ministers of State to engage more with their Japanese counterparts.
Speaking to the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Himeno Tsutomu, when he paid a working visit to the Foreign Ministry last Friday, the Minister appealed to him to assist in facilitating such engagements when the need arises.
Economic and technical cooperation
Ms Botchwey informed the diplomat of President Akufo-Addo’s ‘second year of roads’ agenda, and requested more Japanese investments and support in the area.
Touching on other priority areas for the government, the Foreign Affairs Minister disclosed the government’s intention to expand agriculture through mechanisation and the establishment of agro-processing industries.
She stated that increased Japanese support in this area would be needed, particularly in the provision of technical assistance for government’s flagship programme of Planting for food and Jobs.
“The government plans to expand health care infrastructure through Agenda 111, which envisions a new hospital, at least, in each district in Ghana and call for Japanese support in this regard. I also call for closer collaboration with Japan in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially access to vaccines,” Ms Botchwey said.
On education, she noted that Ghana is keen on receiving more Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarships (JDS) and the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE).
“JDS continue to offer scholarships to support Ghana’s human resource development, targeting highly capable, young government officials and others who are expected to engage in formulating and implementing social and economic development plans of the country. Beyond that, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts will contribute, in no small measure, to bringing the people of Ghana and Japan closer, which will in turn, provide a powerful impetus for the development of the relationship between the two countries,” the Minster said.
Additionally, Ms Botchwey told the diplomat of Ghana’s willingness to continue working closely with Japan in order to tackle threats to peace and security in the sub-region, Africa and around the globe.
In this regard, she commended Japan’s support extended to the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre.
She informed the Ambassador of Ghana’s commitment to the issue of global governance and, for that matter, the Security Council Reforms, which is why Ghana has been a strong advocate of reforms within the UN to make it more democratic and representative.
Ms Botchwey recalled Ghana’s role in the processes that led to the Ezulwini Consensus, giving the assurance that Ghana would continue to adhere to the consensus and work closely with Japan to move the negotiations forward, and in the right direction.
She acknowledged the excellent tradition of cooperation and support for each other’s candidature for positions at various multilateral institutions, and expressed the hope that both countries would continue to cooperate and support each other in that regard.