Japan has pledged to provide approximately $500 million over the next three years to support peace and stability in the Sahel region, the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Kishida Fumio, has announced.
He said the funds, which would support ongoing efforts under the Accra Initiative, are intended to promote sustainable growth in the region and the neighbouring coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the Japan-Ghana Summit Meeting held with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday as part of his one-day visit to Ghana to deepen his country’s bilateral relations with Ghana.
Mr Kishida is the second prime minister to visit Ghana after former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro 17 years ago(2006).
The Accra Initiative (AI) is a collaborative security mechanism, launched in 2017 under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo with his colleagues from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo and later joined by Mali, and Niger.
It is an African-led-and-executed initiative that aims to prevent a spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organised crime within the common border areas of member states.
A statement from the Japan Embassy said Prime Minister Kishida expressed his appreciation on Ghana’s efforts to address the situation in the Sahel and other regions, noting his country’s support for the initiative.
He stated that Japan and Ghana shared fundamental values and principles such as democracy and the rule of law, and that Japan was willing to cooperate closely with Ghana this year as colleagues of the UN Security Council, and will steadily implement the commitments of the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) held last year.
Mr Kishida stated that he attaches great importance to the promotion of business and investment in Ghana, one of the leading economic centres in West Africa, and looks forward to Ghana’s efforts to further improving the investment environment in order to encourage Japanese companies to expand into Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo, welcoming Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Ghana, mentioned the strong bilateral relations between Japan and Ghana that have been nurtured over a long period of time since the visit of Dr Hideyo Noguchi in 1927 to the present day, and expressed his willingness to further develop bilateral relations in various fields and to work closely together in the international community.
He stated that Ghana is the gateway to the entire African continent, and that he expects Japanese companies to enter and invest in the country, and attaches importance to improving the investment environment.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his gratitude for Japan’s support in various fields.
The two leaders shared the view on the importance of not tolerating Russia’s reckless actions and firmly upholding the rule of law, in the face of negative trends, such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which continue to deny even the principles of the UN Charter such as sovereignty and territorial integrity.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR