June 20, 2017
On June 20th JICA Ethiopia welcomed the first group of returnees of the Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth: the ABE Initiative.
The ABE initiative was launched by Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe during the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), held in Yokohama 2013. The Initiative is a five-year plan to provide 1,000 youth in Africa with the opportunity to earn their Master's Degrees at Japanese Universities, as well as to intern in Japanese companies.
Four of the 22 returnees were invited by JICA to share their educational and work experiences in Japan with members of JICA Ethiopia, the Embassy of Japan in Ethiopia, representatives of the Japanese private sector in Ethiopia, as well as with students selected to participate in the next batch of the Initiative.
During his presentation, Mr. Kifle Hayleeyesus Reda, who studied at the Ritsumekan Asia Pacific University (APU) noted that he gained invaluable lessons during his internships at the Nippon Signal, Canon, DMM.com, Nissan Motors, among others. Mr. Reda is employed at the Development Bank of Ethiopia and is currently working on providing financial support for select development projects in the areas of agriculture and manufacturing.
The graduates highlighted the skills they acquired during their time in Japan and expressed their eagerness to implement continuous improvement (KAIZEN) schemes in their current work places. Mr. Mulatu Abate, another graduate, who studied International Rural Development Economics, said that he is interested in promoting Japanese coffee processing and packaging practices to Ethiopia.
"It is time to bridge the gap between Japan and Ethiopia," stated Mr. Ken Yamada, JICA Ethiopia's Chief Representative. He stated that interest from the Japanese private sector towards Africa is rising and that the Japanese business delegation of 20 companies, led by JETRO, in mid-June to Ethiopia is a testament to this interest. The delegation met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, visited industrial parks throughout Ethiopia and signed a MOU to develop a Japanese owned special zone within Bole Lemi II Industrial Park.
Thus far, 58 Ethiopians have taken part in the ABE Initative. The fourth group of students are scheduled to leave for Japan this August; of the group, 12 students are from Ethiopia.
First Row (left to right): Mr. Tewodros Getachew Bekele (ABE Initiative graduate), Mr. Kifle Hayleeyesus Reda (ABE Initiative graduate), Mr. Ken Yamada (Chief Representative, JICA Ethiopia Office), Mr. Kenji Yokota (Minister Counsellor, Embassy of Japan to Ethiopia), Mr. Takao Seki (Director General, JETRO Addis Ababa), Mr. Mulatu Abate Belay (ABE Initiative graduate), Mr. Shume Berhanu Berhe (ABE Initiative graduate).
Mr. Mulatu Abate's Presentation
Question and Answer session after the presentations