Sam George reveals ‘secret’ behind 1.2trillion Yen Japan gave to Mahama


Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, disclosed a hidden facet behind the funding of the Tema Interchange, attributing its realization to the efforts of former President John Dramani Mahama.

George asserted that Mahama’s rapport with the Japanese community played a pivotal role in securing a substantial 1.2 trillion yen from Japan for the project.

During an interview on Onua FM, MP Sam Nartey George highlighted Mahama’s unique connection with Japan, stemming from his previous collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) before entering politics.

John Mahama

George underlined the significance of Mahama’s personal ties with Japan, emphasizing that it was instrumental in breaking an 11-year funding hiatus from the Japanese government to Ghana.

“Tema Interchange, JICA, the Japanese government gave us the money.The Japanese government had stopped providing funds to Ghana for 11 years. It took John Mahama to go and unlock it and get 1.2 trillion yen for that project,”George stated, shedding light on Mahama’s role in revitalizing the financial support from Japan.

Explaining the background, George shared, “John Mahama had worked with JICA before at the Japanese Embassy before he became a politician. And so he is a very well-known person in Japan.”

He detailed the enduring relationship between Mahama and Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister at the time, who had previously headed JICA when Mahama served as the country manager.

“At that time, Shinzo Abe, who was Prime Minister had been head of JICA at the time Mahama WA country manager here. They had a long-term work relationship for over 20 years. So John went back to Japan and said Prime Minister, you know what, Japan and Ghana, you have helped us a lot. Under Rawlings, Japan did a lot of funding,” George recounted.

Sam Nartey George revealed this information while expressing discontent over the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) alleged failure to acknowledge the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) contributions to initiated projects.

In 2013, the Government of Ghana under the John Dramani Mahama administration requested a grant from the Government of Japan to implement the project (The Tema Motorway Interchange).

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) then selected and dispatched a survey team, which was headed by Mr. Ryohei Watanabe of CTI Engineering International Co., LTD. from March 2015 to March 2017.

The initial survey and detailed designs were undertaken between March 2015 and December 2016 and the final report was submitted to the Ministry of Roads and Highways for review and approval. This was also noted in the 2016 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Ghana.

Although then president John Dramani Mahama had mentioned in his 2016 State of the Nation address that “preparatory works for the redevelopment of the Accra-Tema motorway into a six-lane road with four interchanges at Adjei Kojo, Abattoir, Teshie Link, and  Tema Roundabout will commence soon,” the project did not start until February 2018.

In 2017, the Government of Ghana signed grant agreements with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to provide aid of up to a total of 6,459 million yen for two programmes in Ghana, of which the Tema Motorway roundabout was included. The two specific projects were:

  1. The Programme for Improvement of Ghanaian International Corridors (6,259 million yen)
  2. The Programme for Poverty Reduction Strategy (Health Sector) (200 million yen)

The details of the first part of the program state that “the project will build an underpass at the Tema Motorway Roundabout in the core city of the Accra economic zone, and will also conduct detailed design improvements for rehabilitation of National Trunk Road N8 in the Central Region. These measures will ensure safe, efficient road transportation and contribute to the efficient flow of goods between international corridors (the Lagos-Abidjan Highway and the Eastern Corridor of Ghana).”

In December 2017, the Government of Ghana, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, and Shimizu-Dai Nippon JV signed a contract for the execution of the project. In February 2018, the vice president of Ghana, H.E Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia cut sod for the commencement of the project.




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