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01.07.2005 Business & Finance

Ghana urges Toyota to set up assembly plant in Ghana

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From Hilda Abban, GNA Special Correspondent, Toyota City, Japan

Toyota City, Japan, July 1, GNA - The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanten on Friday, made a formal request on behalf of the Government of Ghana to the Management of the Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan to consider setting up a vehicle assembly plant in Ghana to serve the West African market. The Corporation currently supports 11 vehicle assembly plants in Asia, Oceania and the Middle and Near East Regions.

The Minister, observed that such a venture was imperative and viable, as the West African market had now become vibrant and dynamic and urged the Corporation to "give serious attention" to the request. Mr Kyeremanten said Toyota was a household name in Ghana and that Ghana "had a history of vehicle assembly with Toyota" when Fattal Motors, set up an assembly plant on the Corporation's behalf in the country several years ago.

Mr T. Ishii, Managing Director of the Africa Division of the Corporation, however, explained to the Minister that the Division would have to "develop a long term strategy to assess the feasibility of moving into the West African market. The Minister and his entourage were later conducted round the Motomachi vehicle assembly plant of the Corporation, where they were taken through the various stages of vehicle assembling. Later in the evening, the Minister was hosted to a dinner in Tokyo, by Mr Yoshinasa Soefimo, Chairman of the Hojun Corporation, real estate developers and a manufacturing concern, who expressed the readiness of his corporation to do business with Ghana.

Mr Kyerematen lauded the relationship and cooperation that exixted between Ghana and Japan, and said he was happy that his delegation was being introduced to business communities as part of his visit, adding that the gesture would further deepen their ties. He said Ghana could benefit more from Japan in the areas of fisheries, manufacturing and financing, adding, "I want Ghana to be your number one trade and investment partner in Africa". He said Japan, "means a lot to poor countries", because of her values for efficiency, quality, humility, perseverance and tradition, as well as for sharing what she has, and described Japan as a gift to the world.

Mr Kyeremanten is scheduled to meet with some Japanese investors and be hosted by the Japanese Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry.