September 25, 2017
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka visited Tanzania and Uganda Aug. 20-26, held talks with government dignitaries and visited the sites of ODA projects.
Tanzania, his first destination, has maintained domestic stability since its independence in 1961. It is a gateway to the Indian Ocean for inland countries and is one of the East Africa region's key countries. It has one of the highest rates of economic growth in the African region with about 7 percent a year for the past ten years. And also private companies, including Japanese companies, have shown a growing interest in it.
On Aug. 21, Mr. Kitaoka met with President John Pombe Magufuli. Mr. Magufuli thanked Mr. Kitaoka for JICA's past cooperation and expressed hope for future cooperation. Mr. Kitaoka commented on the importance of human resource development, and they discussed a wide range of important subjects.
On Aug. 22, Mr. Kitaoka met with Philip Isdor Mpango, the minister for Finance and Planning. Mr. Mpango expressed gratitude for JICA's cooperation since 1960 in areas including agriculture, electric power, transport, governance and urban water systems. He also said he has great expectations for future cooperation from JICA in a wide range of sectors. In response, Mr. Kitaoka talked about JICA's initiatives so far in the areas of health care, agriculture and human resource development. Then he visited Tazara Intersection in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in the country. The intersection is being improved with grant aid. He also visited Muhimbili National Hospital, the site of a technical cooperation project where Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) are working. And he paid a visit to Malindi Fish Landing and Marketing Facilities in Zanzibar, which is planned to be repaired through grant aid.
Next, Mr. Kitaoka visited Uganda. The government of Uganda has traditionally carried out generous refugee assistance policies, including offering land to refugees and securing freedom of movement for them. Uganda is currently hosting 1.3 million refugees, one of the highest numbers in the world, and as the number of refugees has increased, the burden of host regions and host communities has increased.
On Aug. 24, Mr. Kitaoka visited the West Nile sub-region of Uganda, which has been affected by refugees from South Sudan, and met with Mr. Leku Titus, local councillor of the Adjumani District Local Government, Mr. Mawejje Andrew, chief administrative officer of Adjumani District Local Government and others. Mr. Leku and Mr. Mawejje explained the current state of inflow of refugees into the West Nile sub-region, and the progress of the technical cooperation project, Project for Capacity Development of Local Government for Strengthening Community Resilience in Acholi and West Nile Sub-Regions, which is strengthening the capacity of the local governments that play a large role for both refugees and host communities.
After the meeting, Mr. Kitaoka visited Mirieyi Settlement, which has accepted around 4,500 refugees. Then, observing the living conditions of refugees, he went to a demonstration farm of the rice promotion project, Project for Hunger and Poverty Reduction in Uganda, and saw research on rice cultivation being carried out as one aspect of support for refugees and host communities.
After his visit, Mr. Kitaoka met with Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. Mr. Kitaoka expressed his respect for the proactive policy of support for refugees of the Ugandan government, and he said JICA would expand its assistance. The prime minister told Mr. Kitaoka he thinks highly of Japan's quality cooperation, including in the sectors of infrastructure and rice promotion, and he trusts Japan. The prime minister also conveyed his appreciation for the Japanese government's support for refugees. On Aug. 25, Mr. Kitaoka met with Kasaija Matia, minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and discussed the future development of JICA projects.
JICA will take the opportunity afforded by this visit to strengthen its relationship with Tanzania and Uganda, both of which contribute greatly to regional stability.