Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative)



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1. Background

Africa's economy has been steadily increasing since 2000, due to factors such as its abundant natural resources and expansion of trade and investments. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that growth rates in Africa will remain as high as 5.4% up to 2016. While each African nation sets a target for sustainable economic development, political implementation, aimed at turning commodity-based economies into multifaceted industrialized economies through developing primary and secondary industries, is an urgent matter. On the other hand, the International Labor Organization (ILO) points out that the number of youth unemployment in Africa has reached nearly 75 million, almost one third of the youth population (200 million) in the whole region. Given these circumstances, it is expected that the yield of value-added industries and the realization of high productivity of industries in Africa, will resolve the issue as they generate job opportunities, and bring about more stabilized economies. Moreover, Japanese enterprises are showing strong recognition of and interest in a prosperous Africa.

At the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), held in Yokohama in 2013, Japan's Government stated its policy of promoting support for the ongoing dynamic growth of Africa with stronger public-private partnerships. In his speech, Japanese Prime Minister Abe announced the "African Business Education Initiative for Youth (hereafter, referred to as the "ABE Initiative"), a strategic five-year plan providing 1,000 youths in Africa with opportunities to study at Japanese universities as well as do internships at Japanese enterprises. Prior to the TICAD V, Japanese industries, including the Federation of Economic Organizations (KEIDANREN) and the Japanese government, had made a joint recommendation for TICAD V at "Public-Private Council for the Promotion of TICADV". These bodies pointed out that there is a need for human resource development in both private and public sectors of Africa in order to cultivate a strong human network between Japan and Africa. The recommendation also mentioned the significance of increasing the number of African people visiting Japan, as well as increasing awareness among Africans regarding the efficiency of Japanese technologies and systems of enterprises. The ABE Initiative was launched based on this recommendation.

JICA has been appointed to implement a master's degree and internship program within the ABE Initiative framework developed for countries whose official requests have been approved by the Government of Japan.

2. Objective

The objective of the ABE Initiative Master's Degree and Internship Program is to support young personnel who have the potential to contribute to the development of industries in Africa. This program offers opportunities for young African men and women to study at master's courses at Japanese universities as international students (hereafter, referred to as "participants") and experience internships at Japanese enterprises. The aim is for them to develop effective skills in order for them to contribute to various fields. Beyond acquisition of skills and knowledge, this program also intends to cultivate excellent personnel who can recognize and understand the contexts of Japanese society and systems of Japanese enterprises. The expected outcome of the program is a network of potential contributors to the development of African industries who will also lead Japanese businesses to engage further in economic activities in Africa.

3. Target Participants

Target participants are from among the following three types of personnel.

  1. Persons from the Private Sector
    Young individuals who are or will be involved in economic activities in the local private sector maintaining and developing strong ties with Japanese companies.
  2. Governmental Officials
    Young officials, such as civil servants, who take part in governance and policy-making in order to enhance industries to whose development Japanese companies can contribute, and has a recommendation by a Japanese company.
  3. Educators
    Young individuals who are responsible for educating in Higher Education and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) institutions in Africa, in order to enhance capacity building in related industries, and has a recommendation by a Japanese company.

4. Eligible applicants

  1. Citizens of one of the 54 African countries
  2. Between 22 and 39 years old (as of April 1st in the year of you arrival in Japan)
  3. A bachelor's degree
  4. Applicants from government sectors/ educators who have both of the following:
  5. -At least 6 months working experience at their current organization -Permission from their current organization to apply
  6. Have adequate English proficiency, both in written and oral communication (IELTS score of over 5.5 is preferred)
  7. Clearly understand the objective of this program and have a strong will to contribute to the industrial development of their country while broadening and strengthening the linkage between their country and Japan
  8. Not currently applying or planning to apply to scholarship programs offered by other organizations
  9. Have good health condition, both physically and mentally, to complete the program

5. Number of Participants/Durations

  • 1st batch (arrived in 2014): 156 participants
  • 2nd batch (arrived in 2015): 317 participants
  • 3rd batch (arrived in 2016): 348 participants
  • 4th batch (will arrive in 2017): 250 participants (planned)

It is expected that the duration of stay in Japan will be a maximum of 3 years. (6 months as a research student, 2 years as a student for master course and 6 months as an intern)

6. Link for further information

7. Inquiry

8. Related Links

May 25, 2016 Business Fair Introduces Japanese Companies to Young Africans Studying in Japan
February 1, 2016 ABE Initiative Internship Report: At a Yuzu Company in Tokushima Prefecture
February 1, 2016 ABE Initiative Internship Report: At a Tofu Company in Aichi Prefecture
January 6, 2016 ABE Initiative Internship Report: At a Marketing Company in the Center of Tokyo
January 6, 2016 ABE Initiative Internship Report: At a Used Automobile Export Company in the West Part of Tokyo
December 25, 2015 First Internships for ABE Initiative Participants at Japanese Companies
October 16, 2015 ABE Initiative 2015: Japan Welcomes Second Batch Participants from 33 African Counties
October 31, 2014 First ABE Initiative Participants Visit Japan from Africa


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