June 26, 2020
CEO Rioux (right) and President Kitaoka
On Jun. 12, JICA President KITAOKA Shinichi had an online meeting with Mr. Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement (AFD)).
At the outset of the meeting, the two leaders shared current status of their respective agencies’ operation amid the spread of COVID-19 and reaffirmed their commitments to strengthen the collaboration between JICA and AFD, based on the Memorandum of Cooperation concluded in 2019.
They also shared views that some developing countries, including ones in Africa, are controlling the spread of COVID-19 relatively well, while they need to continuously pay attention to the impact particularly on the most vulnerable groups.
Dr. Kitaoka mentioned that the COVID-19 crisis could mark an important turning point in history, and that, in light of this recognition, JICA has embarked on a research on “the role of international cooperation in the post-COVID-19 world.” He also shared that JICA is examining new approaches to continuing its programs in the current environment and engaging in research on responses to COVID-19 with an emphasis on health systems and Universal Health Coverage (UHC*). Finally, he expressed his willingness to reinforce its prevention-focused approach in the fields of health, water sanitation, and nutrition.
(*) Universal Health Coverage (UHC): UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
Mr. Rioux, who also serves as the chair of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) (of which JICA serves as a vice-chair), expressed his strong expectation that JICA will share its experience and insights, including above-mentioned researches, at the Finance in Common Summit, to be co-hosted by IDFC in November this year. Dr. Kitaoka expressed his support to the summit given the importance of the subject to today’s context.
In addition, Dr. Kitaoka emphasized the crucial role of international development finance and called for further promoting international cooperation in recovering from the crisis. He illustrated his point with post-war reconstruction processes of the two world wars by comparing the failure in building international cooperation regime after the World War I and the successful establishment of the Bretton Woods system following the Great Depression and World War Ⅱ.
Mr. Rioux also expressed his desire to further work with JICA on humanitarian and development nexus, disaster risk reduction as well as sports and development in anticipation of the next and subsequent Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan and France respectively. Dr. Kitaoka agreed by saying that sports have a strong link with peace and that JICA has been working on sports and peace in South Sudan and other countries.
JICA will continue working with partners to strengthen health systems and minimize the damage caused by COVID-19 in developing regions while endeavoring in every possible way to ensure the safety of everyone in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.