Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications, says Ghana acknowledges the considerable financial and material support extended by Japan to the country over the years in its quest for economic growth and development.
He said in addition to the Eastern Corridor Bridge Project, Japan has this year extended a grant aid of $ 22.8 million to finance Food Security for Under-privileged Farmers Project, Fisheries Promotion in Sekondi Project and Poverty Reduction Project.
He acknowledged the sacrifices of the Japanese Volunteer Corps who were mostly posted to work in the deprived areas, where access to health services, safe drinking water and general qualitative lifestyle is a big challenge.
“We pay tribute to them for their spirit of volunteerism and humanity,” Dr Omane Boamah said in an address to mark Japan National Day.
He observed that Japan has been a reliable friend of Ghana since the arrival of the late Japanese scientist, Dr Hideyo Noguchi in the then Gold Coast in 1927 to conduct research into yellow fever for the survival of mankind.
He said: “The strong bond of friendship and active cooperation between our two countries are therefore a manifestation of the solid foundation of relationship laid by the founding fathers of the two countries.”
“We indeed appreciate Japan’s role in the on-going fight against the spread of the Ebola pandemic in the West Africa sub-region.
“We would like to place on record Japan’s contribution of approximately $ 150 million toward the containment of the disease as well as its commitment to upgrade the capacity of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research to enable it play a meaningful role in Ghana’s Ebola preparedness efforts.”
Dr Omane Boamah said on the international scene, Ghana and Japan had shared common positions on global issues such as reform of the United National governance structure and the climate change debate.
He said the traditional bonds of friendship and cooperation forged at the political level had greatly manifested in the steady growth of economic cooperation between our two countries.
The Minister said: “Indeed, there has been a surge in economic activities between the private sector operators of the two countries largely due to the favourable business climate in Ghana.
“We, however, share the view that the early conclusion of the on-going negotiations for Bilateral Investment Treaty would further deepen our strong economic ties in the years ahead.”
Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, Ambassador of Japan said the presence of Japanese private sectors in Ghana exists in various areas such as oil production, power supply, desalinated pure water supply as well as trading of goods.
He said to bring more investment; negotiation on the bilateral investment treaty is duly in process.
The Ambassador commended President John Dramani Mahama’s leadership in hosting the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response in Accra and in accelerating efforts to prevent further spread of the disease.
He said Japan had committed its assistance to upgrade the capacity of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research; stating: “I am encouraged that the Noguchi Institute has played a significant role in the Ebola preparedness in Ghana.”
“Adding onto it, I am happy to inform that more Ghanaian people will be granted scholarship under ‘the ABE Initiative, the African Business Education Initiative for the Youth’ in the next coming years.
“I believe all these grass-root exchanges and interactions among Japanese and Ghanaian friends have underpinned and will further strengthen the already cordial friendship between Japan and Ghana,” he said. GNA