April 16, 2012
To promote collaboration with private companies and other organizations entering base of the pyramid (BoP) business, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has selected 19 survey projects for the "Preparatory Survey for BoP Business Promotion,"* a framework to provide financial assistance for feasibility studies. (Please refer to the attached List of Selected Projects.) The projects were selected from proposals submitted through a call for submissions announced given on December 12, 2011, the third such announcement in total.
A new category of smaller-scale survey projects to each of which JICA provides up to 20 million yen was added to encourage small and medium-sized industries to submit proposals. Previously, the upper limit for JICA's support for each survey project was 50 million yen. Furthermore, the submission of proposals with the following features was particularly encouraged in the announcement: proposals promoting the utilization of technologies used during the recovery phase from the Great East Japan Earthquake; proposals from companies based in the earthquake/tsunami affected area; and proposals for countermeasures against flooding in Thailand and other parts of Asia.
In response to this announcement 144 organizations submitted 86 proposals in such areas as rural development, health care and poverty reduction. Submitting organizations included those based in the area affected by Great East Japan Earthquake (Miyagi and Fukushima). Of the respondents to this call, 87percent were private companies (approximately 70percent of which were small and medium-sized enterprises), particularly manufacturers, service companies and consulting companies. Also among the respondents were non-governmental organizations and not-for-profit organizations (8percent), universities (4percent) and local governments (1percent). The targeted regions of the proposed projects ranged from Southeast Asia (52percent) and South Asia (30percent) to Africa (7percent), as well as Latin America.
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 scheme 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 its vision. Furthermore, this scheme is expected to promote business development of Japanese companies in developing countries based on their competitive advantages as private entities, and contribute to the solution of developmental issues.
JICA will continue to provide indirect support to the efforts of companies implementing surveys geared toward the realization of proposed projects, both for surveys selected in the past and for those selected this time.