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Ghana and Japan sign $16.5m agreements for SME grants

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Ghana and Japan on Thursday, signed two agreements for a $16.5 million grant to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and educational infrastructure in the country.

They were the Project for Improvement of Access to Basic Education in Deprived Areas grant and the Non-Project Grant Aid, under the Japanese 2009 Fiscal year.

The $10.5 million Non-Project Grant Aid was to enable government to open a lending facility on soft terms to import production equipment, industrial goods and raw materials in order to improve the business environment for the private sector.

The Project for Improvement of Access to Basic Education in Deprived Areas, worth $6 million, was aimed the construction of classrooms, accommodation for teachers in deprived areas and provision of other educational infrastructure in the northern and central regions.

Deprived areas targeted under the project included Sawla-Tuna Kalba, Central Gonja, Karaga and Bunkprugu Districts in the Northern Region as well as Assin South and North Districts of the Central Region.

Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, signing for Ghana, said the Japanese government’s support to the SMEs in the country had been the most reliable on-lending financial facilities extended to the private sector.

“This important support for the private sector is a demonstration of the Japanese government’s commitment to partner Ghana to make the private sector the engine of growth of the economy, providing employment and reducing poverty,” the Foreign Minister said.

Alhaji Mumuni thanked the Japanese government for its assistance to Ghana.

Mr Keiichi Katakami, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, said the signing of the agreements attested to Japan’s commitment towards assisting Africa in its development of the private sector and human resource, as pledged by Japan at last year’s 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV).

“I sincerely hope these two grants being signed today will continue to assist the government of Ghana’s effort in achieving sustainable development with strong economic growth and poverty reduction,” the Japanese ambassador said.

Source: GNA

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