November 25, 2015
From left, Beninese Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka held talks with Beninese Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou in Tokyo on Oct. 29.
Mr. Zinsou, who took office in June, was in Japan for the first time to participate in the First ECOWAS-Japan Business Forum*.
Mr. Zinsou began the talks by saying JICA's cooperation, mainly elementary school construction throughout the country and village water supply projects, is widely known to the Beninese people. He said he hopes for continued cooperation in such sectors as health, agriculture and education, which are foundational to building the country.
Mr. Kitaoka replied that JICA emphasizes cooperation for the citizens of developing countries to build up their own countries and that cooperation in the educational and health sectors is particularly important.
Mr. Zinsou said the First ECOWAS-Japan Business Forum was a starting point for strengthening public-private partnerships involving the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Japan, and he touched on the importance of public-private partnerships in Africa. He explained "Light for All," his own initiative, and expressed a desire to improve all households' access to electricity in the next six months.
Mr. Kitaoka responded that developing infrastructure in a timely manner is extremely important and that JICA would like to further strengthen its relationship with the countries of Africa, including Benin, toward the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development planned in Kenya next year.
JICA plans to continue cooperation to Benin that directly improves the lives of its people, centered on revitalizing primary industry, and improving health care service delivery and access to education.
* The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was established as a quasi regional organization to promote regional economic integration, and it has 15 member nations in West Africa, including Benin. This forum was held Oct. 28 and 29 with the objective of promoting Japanese investment in West Africa.