Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • 日本語
  • English
  • Français
  • Espanol
  • Home
  • About JICA
  • News & Features
  • Countries & Regions
  • Our Work
  • Publications
  • Investor Relations

Speech Transcripts

June 2, 2013

Speech at TICAD V Break Out Session Thematic Session 2 "Strengthening Sectoral Bases for Growth": JICA's Comprehensive Approach to Infrastructure Development in Africa

InterContinental Hotel, Yokohama, Japan

Speech by Akihiko Tanaka, President JICA
9:00 am June 2 (Sun) 2013 InterContinental Yokohama

Dr. Donald Kaberuka,
H.E. Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara,
Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor to speak to you today on behalf of JICA at this session on "Strengthening Sectoral Bases for Growth."

As the distinguished speakers before me have mentioned, the challenges that Africa faces are diverse. We therefore need to find out, together with our partners and other stakeholders in Africa, solutions that are fitting for the local context. I call this process "synnovation." Synnovation means innovating new approaches and solutions in concert with global partners. We hope that the outcomes of TICAD V will create many opportunities for synnovation.

One of the main pillars of TICAD V is building "Robust and Sustainable Economy." At the heart of this agenda is the importance of infrastructure development and the need for partnerships, as my friends here have also suggested. Prime Minister Abe yesterday committed to 6.5 billion US dollars to assist infrastructure development. Upon his speech, I would like to briefly explain six ways where JICA plans to work with its partners to achieve the goals set out by Japanese government.

First of all, JICA supports Africa's regional integration. We firmly believe that accelerating regional integration is essential for Africa's economic transformation. In 2010, the AUC, African states, and other partners developed a program called "PIDA", or the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa. JICA welcomes this program under the ownership of African partners, and plans to coordinate closely with it.JICA also supports regional integration through cooperation with Regional Economic Communities, such as SADC, EAC, ECOWAS and UEMOA, to develop and harmonize legal systems that promote regional trade.

Second, JICA supports economic corridor development. In alignment with PIDA and in cooperation with partners, JICA has helped build bridges, roads, and ports. In fact, JICA's experience with infrastructure development in Africa goes back more than 40 years. As a result, we can see bridges and roads that are still in magnificent shape, acting as the backbone for several countries' economic activities. Under synnovative approaches, JICA will continue sharing African partners with cutting edge technology in infrastructure development and maintenance.

I would also like to highlight the importance of developing comprehensive and strategic master plans for regional development. This is the way to ensure that major economic corridors also promote inclusive and dynamic growth. We are using this approach in the Nacala Corridor in Mozambique. Not only is JICA supporting the development of Nacala Port, we are also helping to build main corridor roads, as well as to encourage agriculture development and improve education. As part of the TICAD V agenda, JICA is committed to developing these comprehensive and strategic master plans in at least 10 areas in Africa.

A third important area for infrastructure development is the power and ICT sectors. JICA will support the power sector by using innovative technology for renewable energy development, such as geothermal electric generation, as well as by supporting highly efficient coal and natural gas power plants. However, the financing gap in the power sector is immense, and it cannot be tackled by one country or institution alone. Therefore, JICA will work together with partner countries and institutions to develop creative ways to promote private sector investment, frameworks for PPPs, and human resources development. As for ICT, JICA will contribute through introducing high quality land-digital technology for television in selected countries.

A fourth priority area is "soft" infrastructure development. In addition to hard infrastructure, "soft" infrastructure is important as well. Ports and power stations are not useful unless they can be properly operated. We also need proper institutional framework for a government to well function for its people. Therefore we are providing training on infrastructure maintenance, and technical assistance to improve the business environment and legal systems. As part of our contribution to the TICAD V agenda, JICA will train approximately 650 government staff in infrastructure development. 200 people will be trained in the energy sector to promote low carbon, energy efficient systems, and 450 people will be trained in the transport sector in design, maintenance and management of infrastructure projects.

During the last TICAD IV, JICA assisted countries to set up "one stop border posts (OSBPs)" in 14 locations across the continent. The OSBPs are aimed at cutting time spent going through customs at border crossings by harmonizing procedures on both sides of the border, training customs officials, and setting up physical posts. As an example, in Maraba, a border town between Kenya and Uganda, the OSBP has greatly decreased the waiting time for trucks from 48 hours to 6 hours. During the TICAD 5 process, JICA will expand its assistance to a total of 20 countries, including the on-going ones, and train more than 300 customs officials.

A fifth area of focus is human resource development for economic transformation. Africa is in urgent need of skilled labor in order to promote its vibrant private sector. JICA has a long history of assisting countries to strengthen human resources through formal education institutions, such as math and sciences, higher education and vocational training centers. Moreover, we have introduced management improvement methods, such as the KAIZEN method used by leading companies like Toyota, to increase the productivity and standards of private sector companies in Africa. As a TICAD V commitment, Japan will provide scholarship program for 1,000 African youth as "Abe Initiative". JICA also intends to train around 30,000 individuals in 25 countries.

And last but not least, our sixth pillar of cooperation is south-south cooperation. In order to promote synnovation, JICA is supporting countries to actively share their knowledge and experiences. For example, Morocco's experience in road maintenance and Ghana's experience in electrification present important lessons that can be shared with neighboring countries.


In order for Africa to transform its economy, it needs to develop infrastructure that transcends borders. High-quality comprehensive and strategic master plans are essential to facilitate long term quality growth. Also, the right mix of hard and soft infrastructure is required for maximizing impacts.

As JICA President, I pledge that JICA will fully utilize Japan's technology and knowledge in order to support our African friends with these objectives. And through synnovative approaches, I believe we will be able to learn and develop solutions together to make progress on this ambitious agenda.

Thank you very much.


Copyright © Japan International Cooperation Agency