October 9-10, 2023: Looking towards 2027, the final year of the Africa Kaizen Initiative (AKI), and beyond. “Africa Kaizen Annual Conference” held


event |


Conference name: Africa Kaizen Annual Conference (AKAC)
Date: October 9th to October 10th, 2023
Sponsor: Co-sponsored by African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Government of Ethiopia, and JICA
Location: Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

Main participants

The conference was attended face-to-face by 238 stakeholders from 22 countries and international donors.
In adition, there were 151 online participants from 25 countries.

Background / Purpose

The Africa Kaizen Initiative (AKI) is a 10-year initiative launched in 2017 by AUDA-NEPAD and JICA following the announcement of the Africa-wide promotion of the Kaizen Initiative at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in 2016.
Through discussions and networking among stakeholders, Africa Kaizen Annual Conference is held to share policy implications of implementing kaizen, findings and lessons learned in each country, deepen understanding of kaizen, and discuss future course of action.
To date, the conferences have been held in Ethiopia in 2016, in Kenya in 2017, in South Africa in 2018, turned into an annual meeting, and has been held as a hybrid in Tunisia in 2019, held online in 2020, Tanzania in 2021, and Cameroon in 2022.


(1) Panel discussion on Center of Excellence (COE)
A panel discussion was held between Pan-African Productivity Association (PAPA), which has been performing the role of COE for many years, the National Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (INTI) of Argentine, and the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), with the theme of "Strengthening COE to spread Kaizen across the African continent." Case studies of COE in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia were introduced, and there was a lively exchange of opinions.

(2) Panel Session on Efforts to Improve Quality and Productivity in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Industrial Parks
With panelists from Ethiopia (Board of Investments, Hawassa Industrial Park Investors Association, Kaizen Excellence Centre), South Africa (Automotive Industry Development Center), Mauritius (National Productivity and Competitiveness Commission (NPCC)), and AUDA-NEPAD. Based on the keynote presentation by the members (JICA/AUDA-NEPAD), discussions were held on examples from each country and the significance of Kaizen/quality and productivity improvement in SEZs/industrial parks.

(3) Activity Reports of AKI Working Groups (WG) and Presentations of Cross Functional Working Group (CFWG)
The AKI Secretariat of AUDA-NEPAD reported on the progress of activities from the five WGs implementing AKI activities (Certification, Curriculum, Performance indicators, Annual conference/Awards, Centre of Excellence). Additionally, based on the 2024-2027 action plan, establishmenet of the CFWG with its expected members were announced.

(4) 5th Africa Kaizen Award
There were 15 applications from 9 countries, mainly those involved in the JICA's project, and the selection results were announced on the 2nd day. Based on the review by a panel of experts from Japan and abroad, two Tunisian companies won the Outstanding Prize and the Excellence Award in the large company category, while a Mauritian company won the Outstanding Prize and a Ghanaian company won the Excellence Award in the Small and Medium Enterprise category.

(5) COE Capacity Building Program
The first Capacity Building Training Program for AKI's COEs was held at the TICAD Industrial Human Resources Development Center for four days from October 11 to 14. A total of 34 people from 11 countries and 2 institutions, 55 people including related parties, participated, and the participants themselves served as lecturers, making it a place for lively discussion, learning, and networking as COE training by Africa for Africa.