Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Friday, 5th November 2021, opened formally the Ghana Office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), at an event in Kempinski, Accra.
JETRO is one of the companies President Akufo-Addo engaged with in his official visit to Japan nearly three years ago. Toyota Tsusho, is one of the companies the President engaged with, for which an assembly plant has been established in Ghana.
With Ghana and Japan having had strong, longstanding bilateral relations since 1957, resulting in co-operation in the fields of agriculture, education, energy, finance, food, governance health, infrastructure, manufacturing, and peace and security, JETRO has played a significant role in the successful implementation of several of these trade and investments programmes, which have provided support in boosting the productivity and sustainability of many small and medium scale enterprises in Ghana.
Speaking at the event, President Akufo-Addo stated that the establishment of the JETRO Ghana Office, which has been duly staffed and resourced, is an important development towards deepening Ghana’s economic co-operation with Japan.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “It provides a permanent administrative mechanism for strengthening bilateral dialogue and cooperation on trade, investment and private sector development programmes between Japan and
The JETRO Ghana Office should help facilitate business linkages by directly addressing the language barrier between Ghanaian and Japanese companies.”
Continuing, the President indicated that “As an agency of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, External Trade and Investment (METI), JETRO is better placed, also, to support more diligently the full cycle of mission goals and follow-up actions required to close deals brokered from overseas trade missions, exhibitions and executive visits.”
With JETRO fully in place, he indicated that the time has come for a more co-ordinated approach by Ghana and Japan to undertake joint initiatives, which will complement the work the Ghanaian Government is already doing to empower the private sector to take advantage of long-standing and beneficial bilateral cooperation, as well as of key Trade Agreements such as the game-changing African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, the European Union-Ghana Interim Economic Partnership Agreement, the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Ghana-UK Trade Partnership Agreement, and the various Japanese Co-operation Agreements under the TICAD initiative.
President Akufo-Addo was convinced that, working closely with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, JETRO will fully align its development co-operation to assist the Ministry of Trade and Industry to implement Ghana’s comprehensive Industrial Transformation Programme.
“Industrialisation 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,” he added.
The President told the gathering that Ghana is looking forward to more substantial investments by Japanese companies into her manufacturing sector for Ghana to realize its full potential as a regional manufacturing hub for Africa.
He indicated that Ghana has laid out a host of well-structured sector-specific incentives for manufacturing for domestic consumption and for exports to foreign markets. Additionally, Government, working closely with Parliament, is willing and capable of designing the right legislative and regulatory measures necessary to attract catalytic investments into key strategic sectors of the economy.
“The Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Policy, for example, is highly regarded by our peers in the auto industry as one of the best in Africa. Progress made by Volkswagen and Toyota Tsusho in setting up new Assembly Plants here in Ghana, and the imminent plans of Nissan and Suzuki to follow suit early next year, bear ample testimony to my government’s firm determination to industrialize rapidly the Ghanaian economy to propel growth, and address the problem of unemployment amongst our youth,” President Akufo-Addo added.