The signing of the agreement for the fourth batch of the second Phase of the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) took place on Wednesday in Accra.
Mr Charles A. Owiredu, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, initialed for Ghana while Mr Tsutomu Himeno, Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, and Mr Hirofumi Hoshi, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed for their country.
The programme provides young government officials with scholarship to obtain master’s degrees in Japanese universities in the area of economics, public health, agriculture, and energy development.
Considering that JDS participants need to finish their study in Japan as soon as possible so that they could participate in the work of formulating policy and perform other duties in key positions in the core of the government, the degree to be offered to 105 participants shall be master’s degrees which usually require two years of study at Japanese universities.
Mr Owiredu said Ghana and Japan have enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1957; stating that “and we have continued to work together to strengthen our economies for the benefit of our countries and peoples”.
He said occasions like the grant signing agreement plays an important role in strengthening the bond of friendship and cooperation the countries have shared over the years.
Mr Owiredu said through cooperation and engagements between the two countries, Ghana has received various forms of assistance from Japan in areas such as infrastructural development, energy, agriculture, health and education.
“They have faithfully championed Ghana’s development agendas through grants such as the Exchange of Notes and Record of Discussions for the ‘Economic and Social Development Project’ amounting to ¥300 million, approximately $ 2.73 million which was signed in February 2019”.
He said human resource development is an essential tool for nation building and a backbone for a resilient economy.
He said the signing of the Exchange of Notes and Record of Discussions for “The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship” amounting to ¥149 million, approximately $1,374,063 million was aimed at improving the skill set of Ghana’s workforce which would undoubtedly contribute to the development of the nation.
Mr Owiredu, on behalf of the President and the Government and People of Ghana, expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Government and People of Japan for their unyielding support for Ghana’s Socio-economic development.
He assured the Government and People of Japan that the grant would be used for its intended purpose and for the benefit of the people of Ghana.
Mr Himeno said the JDS project was being implemented because of the good relationship between the two countries, which deserved to be even more cultivated.
He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was in Japan last December, would again be visiting Japan at the end of August this year to participate in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
He said Japan is very happy to help in Ghana’s human resource development as this is critical for the nation’s socioeconomic development.
Mr Hoshi said since the inception of this programme in 2012, a total number of 55 Ghanaians had passed through it and for this year, a total number of 10 participants would benefit.
“We believe that through this unique programme of JDS and the high standard education in Japanese universities, as well as through the practice of the deeply ingrained Japanese culture, such as ‘punctuality’ and ‘hard-working’, the 10 bright young participants will take leadership roles in Ghana in the near future.”
“Indeed, those who have completed their degrees in Japan are performing well in their various Ministries,
Departments and Agencies. We observe that most of them have become Directors, Heads of Divisions and Units.”
Mr Hoshi said during their research in Japanese universities, Ghanaian participants have been excelling over the years.
“I would like to mention the recent good news: one of the Ghanaian participants at Hiroshima University won the best international student last year and JICA is proud to be part of this success story.”