ABE Initiative Regional Networking Event for Six Southern African Countries

In February 2024, ABE Initiative Regional Networking Event was held where ex-participants from six Southern African countries joined (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia South Africa, and Zimbabwe). The participants who obtained degrees in Japan presented their achievements during their studies in Japan and their activities after returning home. The purpose of this meeting was to facilitate interaction and business networking among Japanese companies, ex-participants, and current participants studying in Japan.

Approximately 130 participants, which included representatives from 13 Japanese companies based in Japan and South Africa, ex-participants, current participants, local government officials, and the Japanese embassies, attended the event.

First, the six ex-participants from six southern African countries delivered their presentations. They shared their experiences in Japan and their current activities. Notable reports included an ex-participant who started an import business for used cars from Japan after gaining internship experience, as well as another who returned to Japan for further studies after obtaining a master’s degree through the ABE Initiative. The latter is now working towards improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and aiming for a doctoral degree. These stories exemplify the participant’s role as bridges between Japan and Africa, and they have reported remarkable cross-border advancements.

Next, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. presented a new business initiative. They plan to expand asset management services by providing two-wheeled vehicles to Mobility as a Service (MaaS) operators engaged in sharing, taxi business, and logistic services in Africa. Additionally, they aim to create employment opportunities for local riders through this new business.


An ABE ex-participant who presents her achievements during her study in Japan.


Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Mobility Services Division, Kobayashi Group Manager, who introduces business in Africa.


Group photo with JICA ex-participants from South Africa


Group photo with JICA ex-participants from Botswana and others

In addition, after the above presentations in South Africa and Botswana, breakout sessions were held for JICA ex-participants to exchange opinions in person.

At the breakout session of South Africa, ex-participants lively shared their memories. Recently returned participants shared stories about their experiences that included the two-week quarantine upon arrival in Japan due to COVID-19 precautions and various cultural experiences during their university studies. Additionally, a JICA ex-participant from South Africa’s state-owned power company, Eskom, reported on how his engineering studies equipped him with not only theoretical, but also practical skills in which he now applies in his current work at the company.

At the breakout session of Botswana, presentations were made by faculty members from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, who participated in JICA’s Kizuna program, and the director of Entrepreneurship Department, Ministry of Entrepreneurship, who had recently participated in an invitation program to Japan. They had discussions focused on promoting entrepreneurship in Botswana’s private sector.

Efforts to strengthen the networking of JICA ex-participants are being considered not only in Botswana and South Africa, but also in Namibia and Zimbabwe through alumni associations and other initiatives.


Event Name: ABE Initiative Regional Networking Event for Six Southern African Countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia South Africa, and Zimbabwe)
Date: February 16, 2024 (Friday)
Organizer: JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)
Location: Hybrid (Online/Face to face)

Key Participants

  • ABE Initiative and SDGs Global Leaders Course ex-participants and current participants
  • Japanese companies in Japan
  • Japanese companies in South Africa
  • Officials from the Japanese embassies in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia South Africa, and Zimbabwe
  • Government representatives from the six Southern African countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia South Africa, and Zimbabwe)
  • JICA Africa Department, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe Office staff

Background and Purpose

The “ABE Initiative” (Master’s Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth) has been in operation since 2014. This program aims to provide African youth with opportunities for pursuing a master’s degree studies at Japanese universities and internships at Japanese companies. By doing so, it contributes to the development of local talents sought by Japanese companies operating in Africa and identifies local talents that can serve as ‘bridge’ between Japan and Africa. The ultimate goal is to promote economic activities of Japanese companies in Africa and contribute to the revitalization of the African economy.

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