As a base for French-speaking West Africa, the JICA Senegal Office oversees cooperation projects in the seven countries of Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Mauritania as well as Senegal. We also assist in the project formation stage and the post-project follow-up when requested from another office or embassy in any of the other French-speaking African nations.
As many of our supporters know, JICA entered an exciting new stage last October when it began overseeing many of the projects that JBIC had formerly handled. This development facilitates JICA planning and implementing assistance on a wider scale and allows more aid options. In addition to volunteer projects and other technical assistance, JICA is handling loans and most of the grants that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had handled.
While we continue in our efforts to mobilize all the assistance instruments we have at our disposal to manage our programs overall and assist with projects at the ground level, it is the people who are the true beneficiaries of our work. We therefore focus on the micro perspective so we do not lose track of our goals, ensuring that our work has an on-going effect. This is the philosophy that JICA must keep in mind as an organization, particularly as it grows.
All the countries in West Africa face great challenges on budgeting priorities, staffing and organizational strength in the fields such as a safe supply of drinking water, basic education, health and sanitation, improved environment, and support for micro farming and fishing businesses, which JICA especially puts priority on. Regardless of the difficulties we encounter, we must always ask ourselves what the local residents really want, whether they are willing to maintain a project and whether they are prepared to follow up. Maintaining this perspective on projects JICA has worked on in Senegal and other West African countries in the past, we will continue in our efforts to meet the challenges of development.
Through the ups and downs, facing the severe conditions and enjoying the wealth of resources of West Africa, we consider it an honor and a pleasure to be involved in creating a better future with the people.