Accra, 2nd March 2023 - The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has commended Japanese volunteers working in various parts of the country for their invaluable contribution to the country’s growth and development.
He made this known when he addressed the volunteers who are under the JICA’s Volunteer programme which is one of Japan’s Technical Cooperation schemes operated as part of its Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The JICA Volunteer programme brings Japanese citizens to developing countries to assist their development efforts.
About thirty-three (33) volunteers are currently working in various fields including healthcare, education, ICT, creative arts, Community Development, and a host of technical vocations.
Citing some of the support the Government of Ghana had benefited from Japan, the Minister mentioned the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research which was built by the Government of Japan and donated to Ghana in honour of the Japanese researcher, Hideyo Noguchi, who researched Yellow Fever in Ghana and died from the disease in the country in 1928.
According to him, the role the Research Institute played during the Covid-19 pandemic was very commendable as the premiere biomedical research center in the country complemented Government’s efforts at reducing mortality during that time.
Ken Ofori-Atta also mentioned the ongoing Tema-Motorway Phase II Project and the Assin Fosu-Assin Praso Road Projects as some of the many notable ongoing projects funded by the Government of Japan across the length and breadth of Ghana.
“It's amazing how small steps we take can result in good offers for future generations", he stated.
Mr. Ofori-Atta disclosed that about 45 years ago, in 1977, the first group of volunteers landed in the country with the sole desire to offer their talents, labour and know-how across the various sectors of the economy.
This, he underscored had contributed significantly to improvement in education and healthcare delivery in the country, especially, the rural areas.
“The new skills you are deploying in the communities you serve is helping make a lasting and transformational impact on thousands of people”.
He revealed the Government’s commitment to further improve relationship with Japan and accelerate Ghana’s drive for industrialization.
He finally called for the continuous support from “Ghana’s longtime friends” including Japan, as the country was going through some economic challenges as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, H. E Tsutomu Hiemeno, Mr. Nakowi Biteri, thanked the Government of Ghana for the hospitality and security provided for the volunteers. He said the volunteers were enthusiastic to work with the local communities as Japanese goodwill ambassadors.
He disclosed that, the volunteers were currently working in Greater Accra Region, Volta Region, Ashanti Region, Bono Region, Ahafo Region, Central and Western Regions of Ghana.
According to him, the programme had made adequate preparation to send other volunteers to other parts of the county but were awaiting the clearance from the security agencies to ensure the safety of their volunteers.
He was optimistic of the quick recovery of the Ghanaian economy.
The Chief Representative of JICA in Accra, Mr Yasumichi Araki also noted that the volunteers had become members of the local communities as they lived and shared valuables with them.
After expressing his profound gratitude to the Minister for Finance for the support his office had provided them, he added that, their joy was the warmth and appreciation the local communities expressed towards them all the time.
Present at the programme were Officials of JICA and the Ministry of Finance. END