Accra, Nov. 5, GNA - President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Friday officially opened the Accra office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to strengthen business exchanges between Ghana and the East Asian country.
The Accra JETRO office, which would focus mainly on trade, investment promotion, exhibitions, research, and policy advocacy, is expected to boost bilateral relations between the two countries.
JETRO is the principal public agency that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. The organization began its Ghana operations in March 2020, but the official opening was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Accra office is the ninth in Africa.
"This is an important development towards deepening cooperation between Ghana and Japan," President Akufo-Addo said of the opening of the JETRO Accra office.
He said with Ghana determined to become the fulcrum of intra-Africa trade and the new hub of Africa's industrialization, JETRO’s presence in the country would help the Ministry of Trade and Industry implement Ghana's comprehensive industrial transformation programme.
“Industrialization is a matter of utmost priority and urgency for this government, especially in addressing the challenge of job creation for our youthful population, and in exploiting fully the opportunities available for made in Ghana products in export markets.”
President Akufo-Addo made clear his expectation for the role of JETRO in drawing direct investment from Japan to Ghana and expanding exports from Ghana to Japan.
“We in Ghana, look forward to more substantial investment by Japanese companies into the manufacturing sector for Ghana to realize its full potential, as a regional manufacturing hub for Africa,” he stressed.
Ghana and Japan concluded on August 29, 2019, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the opening of a JETRO office in Accra. This was after President Akufo-Addo had expressed hope, when he attended the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in 2018, for the presence of the Japanese agency in Ghana.
As part of the opening of the JETRO office, Ghana and Japan signed a memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and JETRO to enhance economic and trade relations between the two nations.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the partnership between Ghana and JETRO was in line with the Government’s post-COVID recovery programme, which seeks to leverage trade, investment, and industrialisation to transform the Ghanaian economy.
He said with the Government determined to become the biggest trading partner of Japan on the African continent, “Let me reiterate that this is the most opportune time to boost trade and investment for the mutual benefit of our peoples, as we seek to implement our post-COVID economic recovery program.
“This is a good time for the government of Japan and Japanese investors to join us in making Ghana the hub of Japanese investment in Africa, by creating a win-win Partnerships with the Ghanaian private sector.
“It is my earnest desire that Ghana and Japan continually search for ways to engage. I have no doubt that together we can develop an even stronger partnership for cooperation between our two nations for the mutual benefit of our two peoples,” the President said.
Mr Nobuhiko Sasaki, Chairman and CEO of JETRO indicated that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, his country looked forward to strengthening its trade relations with Ghana in the years ahead.
He said Ghana was a destination of choice for Japanese businesses because of her political and social stability, adding that the Accra JETRO office would accelerate new businesses and expand existing ones.
Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen noted that the establishment of a JETRO Office in Ghana to promote trade and investments undoubtedly reinforced the growing confidence in the leadership of the country.
He said the government seeks to enhance the productive capacity of the local private sector to position them to partner with foreign investors including Japanese investors to take full advantage of the numerous opportunities prevailing in the economy, and gave the assurance that his Ministry would work with JETRO to attract more Japanese investments into Ghana to take advantage of numerous opportunities in the Ghanaian economy.
Ghana has the fifth largest number of Japanese companies in Africa. Both countries have collaborated since the 1960s on Health research, development assistance, and Trade. In 2016, Ghana exported over US$592 million worth of goods, including cocoa beans, aluminium, and feedstuff to Japan and imported close to US$600 million worth of goods comprising motor vehicles, rubber products including tires, and machinery from that country.