July 27, 2015
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka speaks at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the dispatch of JICA volunteers to St. Lucia.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka was in St. Lucia and Cuba from July 8 to 15, in his first visit to the Caribbean.
In St. Lucia, he held talks with Prime Minister Kenny D. Anthony and attended a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the dispatch of volunteers to St. Lucia. In Cuba he held talks with key government figures including Minister of Planning and Economy and Vice-President of the Cuban Council of Ministers Marino Murillo and gave a speech at the University of Havana entitled "JICA's Cooperation Toward Cuba — Focus on Human Resource Development."
JICA has dispatched volunteers to St. Lucia for 20 years and carried out cooperation including 1) human resource training to strengthen social welfare and 2) assistance to promote the social participation of people with disabilities. Some 120 people participated in the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the dispatch of volunteers, including staff members of organizations that have accepted JICA volunteers and former participants in JICA training in Japan. Also present were Anthony; Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre; Minister for Education, Human Resource Development and Labour Robert Lewis; and Minister of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment Harold Dalson.
At the ceremony, Anthony spoke highly of the contribution of volunteers in a wide range of sectors including education, social welfare and the environment, and said he always has high expectations for future JICA volunteers.
Tanaka thanked the people of St. Lucia for their deep understanding of and cooperation toward the volunteer program.
In Cuba, Tanaka held talks with Murillo. They discussed the socioeconomic situation of Cuba, which just re-established diplomatic relations with the United States, as well as issues in agriculture, energy and economic model renewal in Cuba. Murillo said he highly valued JICA's cooperation. He talked about the importance of cooperation done so far in the sectors of agriculture, environmental conservation and health care, and he also expressed high expectations for cooperation in new sectors such as energy, transportation and infrastructure, and promotion of foreign investment. Tanaka responded that JICA would like to continue discussing cooperation needed for the development of Cuba.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka gives a speech at San Geronimo University College, the University of Havana.
At San Geronimo University College, the University of Havana, in Old Havana, Tanaka gave a speech in front of almost 150 interested parties from the Cuban government, the university, development and aid agencies and the community of Cubans of Japanese descent. In his speech, he mentioned that JICA is focusing its assistance to Cuba on three areas: increased food production, environmental conservation and public-private partnerships in the health care sector. He also stated that Japan will aim to provide cooperation that creates new innovation while sharing Japan's advanced technology and accumulated expertise to further promote human resource development to support the development of Cuba.
As a first concrete step, Tanaka explained that JICA will double the number of Cubans it invites to Japan for learning opportunities to 60 people per year during the next five years. So JICA is planning to invite a total of 300 people from Cuba to Japan, offering the opportunity to both sides to think together about how to effectively tackle development issues facing Cuba.