June 3, 2013
During the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), JICA President Akihiko Tanaka held bilateral discussions with representatives of African countries visiting Japan to attend the conference.
Since his appointment in April 2012, Tanaka has visited the eleven nations of Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan and exchanged opinions with dignitaries in each country. He took advantage of TICAD V in Yokohama to arrange the bilateral talks to discuss the future cooperation. The talks covered the state of JICA activities in each country and how to realize the Japanese commitment in TICAD V. Outline of bilateral meetings on May 31, and June 1 are as follows.
Prior to the official opening of TICAD V, Tanaka met with Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ethiopian Prime Minister,Hailemariam Desalegn, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Mozambican President Armando Emílio Guebuza, Malawian President Joyce Banda and Alassane Ouattara, president of Côte d'Ivoire.
Ethiopian Prime Minister expressed gratitude for JICA's cooperation in helping disseminate "KAIZEN" in Ethiopia's manufacturing industry. He declared his intention to disseminate the KAIZEN mindset not just in private businesses, but to the nation as a whole. President of Senegal likewise had high praise for Japan's technical cooperation for human resource development, and in particular, he mentioned the effectiveness of Japan's technical trainings that target a wide range of technicians, mainly at the Vocational and Technical Training Center (Le Centre de Formation Professionnelle et Technique). The African countries' representatives also expressed hope for effective use of Japanese ODA loans for development of transportation and power infrastructure.
The Malawian President in particular said she was grateful for Japan's grassroots-level activities in Malawi, including conspicuous service by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and cooperation to spread the One Village One Product movement.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during his talks with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (Left), Tanaka, left, with Senegalese President Macky Sall (Center), Malawian President Joyce Banda (Right)
After attending the TICAD V opening session on the first day of the formal event, Tanaka attended the talks with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Sudanese State Minister of Finance & National Economy Magdy Hassan Mohamaed Yassin, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Malian interim President Dioncounda Traoré, as well as with Japan's important partners in Africa, namely the African Union, the European Union and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Tanaka told South Sudanese President that in the long-term perspective, JICA wishes to contribute to building relations between South Sudan and Sudan by promoting the flow of goods between the two countries to deepen their mutually-beneficial economic relation.
President of Mali, for which new economic cooperation was halted after the inception of the March 2013 coup d'etat, said he was grateful for Japan's intention to quickly resume cooperation projects as soon as order is restored in Mali. He also expressed gratitude for JICA's hosting a seminar concerning public safety and stabilization of living conditions for the population of the Sahel and Sahara region in May as a TICAD V side event, and for JICA's leading the discussion on cooperation measures toward cementing peace and security in the region.
Burkina Faso President said the fields of education and agriculture, for which JICA is reinforcing its cooperation, directly benefit people and greatly strengthen Burkina Faso in a fundamental way. Also, with regard to the JOCV, he commented that not only do their activities provide direct results, but there is also much to be learned from the Japanese volunteers' work attitude.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, left, with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (Left), Malian interim President Dioncounda Traoré, right, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (Center), Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, right, and Tanaka (Right)