December 28, 2010
To promote collaboration with companies and various private organizations on BoP (base of the pyramid) business, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started the implementation of the "Preparatory Survey for BOP business promotion"* this fiscal year and selected twenty projects as first projects for the scheme. (Please refer to the attached List of Selected Projects.) This BoP cooperation is expected to help resolve developmental issues faced by BOP in developing countries.
Under this scheme, proposals from companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others considering undertaking BoP business to solve development problems will be solicited through public announcements, and studies will be commissioned to the parties making the proposals selected by JICA, which will bear study expenses up to 50 million yen. The first public announcement drew expressions of interest from 198 entities, out of which 124 made 92 proposals, attracting an extraordinarily high level of attention. JICA evaluated and selected the projects based on criteria including development impact such as poverty alleviation expected through BoP business, the potential for commercialization, and the considerations for local communities.
The respondents who submitted the 92 proposals were composed of private companies (91%)—including manufacturers, development consultants and service companies—along with NGOs and non-profit organizations (7%), local governments and universities (1% each). The regions of the proposed projects range from Southeast Asia (42%) and South Asia (30%) to Africa (20%), and the sectors addressed include water, agricultural and rural development, sanitation and alternative energy.
BoP business, sometimes referred to as inclusive business, has drawn a great deal of attention as a new approach that uses business principles to solve problems in developing countries that cannot be accomplished by aid agencies alone, and various bilateral and international aid agencies have been actively promoting cooperation with BoP business in recent years. Within JICA as well, this study system is positioned as a measure aligned with JICA's vision of "inclusive and dynamic development" as well as with "promoting development partnerships," one of the four vital strategies to achieve that vision. Furthermore, this system is expected to promote business development of Japanese companies in developing countries with their strengths as private entities and contribute to the solution of developmental issues.
JICA will continuously promote BoP business by companies and organizations, aiming to provide more effective and efficient aid and establish win-win-win relationship among the private sector, developing countries and ODA.