Masato Kimoto / Toyota Ghana Company Ltd.
The Republic of Ghana is located next to the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa and was in the vanguard of African countries in achieving its independence from Great Britain in 1957. These days, “Ghana chocolate” is famous but, true to its former title of the “Gold Coast,” prior to its independence Ghana was one of the world’s top gold producing countries. In 2007, oilfields were found and today Ghana is conducting serious discussions on how to build a country in which all the citizens in the nation can benefit from the profits obtained from oil.
These, then, are some of the faces of Ghana but here I would like to provide an introduction to show to what extent Ghana is a country in which it is possible to live comfortably and with a sense of security, and why it is being used as a base by many companies and international organizations as somewhere in West Africa where one can live in relative peace of mind.
First, there is no problem with walking alone in the daytime in Ghana and, even in the evenings, it is possible to see many foreigners in the streets and in front of shops in the busy shopping areas. It is also possible to use public transport. The most popular means of transport are the buses known as “Toro-toro” which can hold 15 to 20 passengers. The vehicles used are imported from Japan and Europe in a state which can only be described as being just before they should be scrapped, so one cannot deny that there are problems in terms of the safety and hygiene of these buses. In Japanese, “toro-toro” means “irritatingly slow” and they really do run almost stop, so at first I thought that somehow they had been named by a Japanese person, but in fact apparently the name has its origins in the old unit of currency, the “toro.” Thanks to the recent economic growth, there has been an increased number of cases of brand new Toyota vehicles being purchased for use as toro-toro, so that gradual improvements in the safety aspect can be anticipated.
In terms of food, there is a plentiful range of varieties of fish that it is possible to eat raw. In the port town called Tema city in the suburbs of the capital city, Accra, there is a fish market where they sell very fresh prawns, octopus, and squid, etc. and occasionally one can even obtain tuna or sea bream. In my own case, I often invite friends of all nationalities to my home and hold house parties, and the dish that people most enjoy is hand-rolled sushi rolls made using all this fresh fish.
Finally, the biggest reason that Ghana is such an easy place to live is without a doubt the affability of the people of Ghana, and their considerate and thoughtful manner. The people of Ghana do not say anything in a direct way that might hurt the feelings of other people, and even when they do give their opinions, they try to do so in an amicable manner using smiles and indirect expressions to soften what they are saying. I often feel, as someone who has come to the country from abroad to work in Ghana, there is much to be learned from their gentle approach.
As a person involved in business in Ghana, I would like to contribute to maintaining this environment in the future.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.57 (May, 2010)