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13.07.2005 General News

Bid To Enhance People's Welfare - Ghana Calls For More Japanese Assistance


A GNA Feature by Ms Hilda Abban

Cape Coast, July 13, GNA - On June 30, in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan, Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen made a fervent appeal to the Japanese to support Ghana's industrial development, when Ghana celebrated her 'National Day' at the ongoing 185-day 'World Expo' in Japan.

The Minister, again, during his meetings with some Japanese businessmen, in Tokyo, the Japanese capital, repeated his call for assistance to accelerate development in areas like education and sports. The' World Expo' which is being held under the theme, "Nature's Wisdom", and is primarily aimed at incorporating the current scientific and technological advancement with nature, to stem the abuse of the environment.

Ghana has already made her mark at her stand in the Joint Africa Pavilion at the Expo, with her exhibition of various products from cocoa - cocoa gin; cocoa wine; cocoa vinegar; cocoa body cream and cocoa soap.

Also making Ghana proud, were the live demonstrations of Kente weaving, a documentary on her rich cultural heritage and other potentials, and most importantly, from a portrait of a cocoa farmer harvesting cocoa and the display of cocoa pod, which fascinated most of the numerous Japanese who thronged to Ghana's stand daily. They could not believe that the chocolate, produced by a local confectionery in their country, and that has 'Ghana' boldly embossed on its wrapper, and which they so much enjoyed, came from 'the simple' cocoa pod on display!

Mr Kyerematen, therefore, seems to have hit the nail rightly on the head, when in his address at the celebration of Ghana's National Day at the Expo, said Ghana "hoped to use this event to make a strong case for investment from Japan to support our industrial development and also to expose our manufactured products, our tourist attractions and our cultural heritage to the world".

According to the Minister, Ghana was not only committed to the growth of democracy and good governance, but that she had also laid a strong foundation for what will hopefully, become one of Africa's most prosperous nations, providing equal opportunity to all her citizens. In his state of the nation address to Parliament this year,

President John Agyekum Kufuor, also stressed that the main thrust of his government's second term in office, would be to facilitate accelerated human resource and private sector development and good governance. All three objectives, when fully achieved, would in no doubt, propel socio-economic standards in the country and enhance the well being of her citizens.

On private sector development, the President, had this to say: "The problems bedevilling this informal sector, are manifold. Individuals and enterprises are unable to keep pace with modernity." Ghana's Minister for Trade and Industry, was, therefore, not out of place, when he appealed for more Japanese assistance to enhance his nation's industrial growth, as exhibits mounted in the pavilions of the developed countries like Japan, clearly showed that developing nations including Ghana, needed a lot of assistance if they were to advance in science and technology. Some of the inventions mounted by Japan, in particular, held most of the visitors to her pavilion spell-bound, since she had cleverly managed to combine modern inventions with nature, creating a breathtaking effect.

Mr Kyerematen, who lauded the existing relations between Ghana and Japan, observed that trade figures between the two countries, did not "reflect the level of their bi-lateral cooperation". He was therefore hopeful, that a "new chapter" on trade, focusing on agro-processing and manufacturing activities", would be opened

between the two countries. In this regard, it is fervently hoped that his appeal to Toyota Motor Corporation to set up a vehicle assembly plant in Ghana to serve the booming West African market and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) to promote Ghana's manufactured products in Japan, would yield fruitful results, as a step towards making Ghana's quest to become one of Africa's most prosperous nations, a reality.

Attaining the objectives of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), the Millennium Development Goals and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) would depend on Ghana's ability to improve the well being of her people, through accelerated development and good governance.