Ghana and Japan sign two grant agreements
Ghana has signed and exchanged notes for the provision of two grants from Japan to support various sectors of national development.
The first facility, amounting to 320 million Japanese Yen (approximately 3.5million dollars), is grant for Food Security Project for Underprivileged Farmers.
The money is to be used for the purpose of acquiring agricultural equipment and machinery for small- holder farmers.
The second facility is a 200 million Japanese yen (approximately 2.2million dollars) grant for Sector Budget Support for a Health Sector Programme.
Mr Naoto Nikai, Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ghana, said at the signing ceremony in Accra on Thursday that the grant for underprivileged farmers was aimed at increasing food production in the country, by providing better access to agricultural equipment and machinery for farmers in need.
Japan, he said, had been providing the facility to Ghana since 1981 when the country needed an increase in food production.
Mr Naoto expressed the hope that the health sector budget support would be fully utilised to improve the health sector, including the health of mothers and children, especially as the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) four and five is lagging behind.
“Japan will also continue with our support through various types of assistance such as technical cooperation, grant assistance, dispatch of experts and Japanese volunteers so as to help Ghana accelerate its efforts toward achieving MDG 4 and 5.
“It is my fervent hope that the grants being signed today will contribute to tangible results in the poverty reduction and development efforts of the government of Ghana,” he said.
Professor Akihiko Tanaka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who is on his first visit to Ghana said 2013 is the 50th year of Japan’s assistance to Ghana.
He said through JICA a number of projects have been implemented in Ghana, including the establishment of the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.
The Agency has also dispatched more than 1000 volunteers to Ghana and is training about 3000 Ghanaians in Japan.
He noted that Japan and JICA recognised Ghana as the key for the stability of the West African Region and upholds the vision of Inclusive and Dynamic Development, which was similar to the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda (GSGDA).
Japan had spent more than 820 million dollars in the past 30 years in infrastructure development, starting in the 1980s with the ports of Tema and Takoradi through the deployment of the country’s advanced technology and knowledge-sharing.
Other areas are agriculture, where JICA assists in rice cultivation, implementing technical cooperation for sustainable development of rain-fed low land rice production in Ashanti and Northern regions, health- technical cooperation project and grant aid for construction of Community Health Compounds( in Upper West Region.
Prof Tanaka revealed that Japan would hold the Fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development in June.
Madam Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs And Regional Integration thanked Japan and JICA for the assistance provided to Ghana, saying it is focused on the most vulnerable sector of Ghana’s development in line with GSGDA.