Ghana leader thanks Japan, stresses need for education

Visiting Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday stressed the need to spur his country’s economic development by promoting education as the “shortest way out of poverty,” and praised Japan for playing a key role.

“We have no doubt that the partnership that we have built with Japan will be beneficial to all of us,” Kufuor said during a speech at Nihon University in Tokyo.

He referred to his nation as the “natural gateway to the West African subregion” and a door to promising markets in human and material resources.

The 63-year-old president said the subregion has a population of about 250 million and that Ghana is endowed with its own supply of human and natural resources.

Kufuor also cited the active role of the young Japanese who have come to Ghana in the past 25 years through the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers program, part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The volunteers teach Ghanaian youths in education-deprived areas.

Kufuor requested that exchanges with Japan — which he said is Ghana’s top aid donor — be “diversified and enlarged.”

He also expressed hope that Ghana will develop further through the initiatives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

NEPAD refers to the self-help initiative aimed at networking African countries for economic progress and partnership building with the international community.

TICAD, cohosted by Japan with the United Nations and an intergovernmental coalition for Africa, has provided fundamental and comprehensive policies and guidelines on African development to countries on the continent and their partners.

Nihon University signed an exchange agreement in January with the University of Ghana to swap teachers and students and conduct joint research.