October 21, 2011
During the second quarter of FY 2011, from July to September, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a total of 34 grant aid agreements.
A complete list of these agreements is provided in the Appendix. Key details are provided below for three of the main projects for which agreements were signed this quarter.
1. Kenya: The Project for the Upgrading and Refurbishment of the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa
According to "Kenya Vision 2030," the government of Kenya's long-term development plan, sustainable industrialization is essential for economic and social development of Kenya, and the qualitative improvement of education and research is one of the issues stressed as a driving force toward that end. While net enrollment ratios have increased for primary and secondary education and the quantity of educational opportunity provided has expanded, the quality of education has yet to be improved. For example, the results of the exit examinations for primary and secondary education, particularly for secondary mathematics and science, have been extremely low, with the majority of examinees falling into the bottom two rankings.
Through a series of technical cooperation projects since 1998—Strengthening of Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) phases 1 and 2 and Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE)—JICA has promoted the training of current teachers in Kenya as well as the qualitative improvement of education in the fields of mathematics and science in Africa, which faces problems similar to those in Kenya. The activities for these projects have been carried out using the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA, founded in 2003) as a base. In order to make qualitative improvements in education, however, there is a need to expand the opportunities to provide training to lecturers who provide training to current teachers, as well as to educational supervisors and administrators. This project is being conducted to meet such needs.
Through the expansion of facilities at the CEMASTEA, this project aims to strengthen the training and related activities held in the current facilities for lecturers providing training to current teachers and for educational administrators. The project is also promoting assistance in the field of human resource training, and is expected to become a base for achieving expansion in the teacher training (targeting 100,000 teachers) in the fields of mathematics and science through SMASSE, a pledge in the TICAD IV Yokohama Action Plan, as well for maintaining the results.
2. Tanzania and Rwanda: The Project for Construction of Rusumo International Bridge and One Stop Border Post Facilities
The international highway spanning 1,463 kilometers from the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania around the south end of Lake Victoria to Rwanda's capital of Kigali is referred to as the Central Corridor, and is positioned as the primary international economic corridor for the Eastern Africa region. The Rusumo Bridge crossing the Tanzania-Rwanda border on the corridor is a vital location for good transport between the countries, but due to its narrowness and state of disrepair, the bridge faces difficulties handling the increasing traffic that accompanies the expanding trade. Additionally, the complicated procedures at the border are a barrier to improving good distribution along this corridor, and making border crossing smoother is an urgent issue for both countries, which have experienced rapid economic growth in recent years.
Under this project, the deteriorated Rusumo International Bridge will be replaced, and facilities for simplifying the border procedures for crossing between Tanzania and Rwanda will be constructed and existing facilities improved. It is expected that this will allow the weight and speed restrictions for vehicles crossing the Rusumo border to be relaxed, decrease the time required for border-crossing procedures, and reduce transportation costs between the two countries, resulting in expanded trade and investment. In parallel with this project, JICA is also implementing the Project on Capacity Building for Customs Officers to train human resources for using the improved one-stop border post (OSBP) facilities, to improve the Central Corridor and to provide regional cooperation across multiple countries to promote the flow of goods in the Eastern Africa region.
At the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in May 2008, Japan announced assistance for regional infrastructure in the Africa region and for OSBP improvements to make border-crossing procedures between adjacent countries uniform and the flow of goods more efficient. This project will implement the support that the Japanese government announced in the form of improvements in the regional road network and maintenance of facilities for simplification of customs procedures.
3. Kingdom of Bhutan: The Project for Restoration and Improvement of Vital Infrastructure for Cyclone Disaster
Bhutan is a mountainous country, the landscape of which is mostly steep train, and without railroads or domestic airline routes, roads and bridges play vital roles in Bhutan's socioeconomic development as the sole means of transportation.
To date, Japan has provided grant aid to replace bridges and maintain equipment for road construction for three batches, ensuring efficient, stable transportation in Bhutan, as well as contributing to invigoration of the regional economy.
Cyclone Aila, which devastated South Asia at the end of May 2009, caused the deaths of 320 people, more than any other natural disasters in the world in the first half of 2009, and resulting in more than 100,000 evacuees in India, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and damaging the homes of more than 100,000 people. The Cyclone struck Bhutan directly, destroying roads, bridges and other infrastructure in every region of the country, cutting off residents' access to hospitals, schools, markets, and other facilities needed for daily living in the affected regions.
Under this project, five bridges will be replaced, including those damaged by the Cyclone, to improve access for local residents. By constructing bridges that are more permanent than those that existed before the disaster, it is expected that limitations on the weight of vehicles using them will be greatly alleviated, the transportation of commodities, construction materials and farm crops will be made more efficient, and the local economy will be stimulated.