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May 25, 2016

Business Fair Introduces Japanese Companies to Young Africans Studying in Japan
The enterprises see the ABE Initiative participants as potential navigators to help them expand into Africa

photoABE Initiative participants proactively visited the booths of various companies.

About 300 Africans attending graduate schools in Japan under the ABE Initiative and 133 Japanese companies participated in Africa Business Networking Fair 2016 on March 24 in Tokyo.

The JICA-sponsored event aimed to promote information exchange and networking between the students and companies as part of the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative) and to help the companies find business opportunities and partners.

The ABE Initiative aims to foster African human resources who will become a bridge between their countries and Japan to encourage Japanese companies expand into Africa, and in so doing to contribute to African development.

Japanese companies are interested in Africa's rich natural resources and enormous market. However, finding personnel to serve as a foundation when expanding into Africa is a challenge for them.

photoABE Initiative participants enthusiastically listen to presentations by Japanese companies.
photoAt a company's booth, participants enthusiastically listened to and discuss about further projects with the company.

The students attending the fair are a part of the second batch of ABE Initiative participants, about 300 people from 33 countries who came to Japan in September 2015 to acquire master's degrees. In their own countries, they are administrative officials at government agencies, university researchers, company employees, entrepreneurs - young people expected to have bright futures. Their fields of specialization vary widely, including engineering, economics/management, agriculture, the environment and telecommunications technology.

The ABE Initiative is an opportunity to both acquire a master's degree in Japan and to have an internship at a Japanese company. All the participants participate in internships during summer vacation a year after they come to Japan. If both the participant and company so desire, the participant has another internship for up to six months after acquiring a master's degree. At the fairs, often the students and companies narrow down the projects and fields they are interested in and then their subsequent interactions lead to an internship.

In September, another 300 participants - the third batch - will arrive in Japan. JICA will continue hosting seminars and events to provide opportunities for matching between the ABE Initiative participants and Japanese companies.

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