General News

Africa-Japan sign 73 agreements at TICAD VI

Date: Aug 29, 2016

Africa and Japan made history this week with the signing of 73 Memorandums of Understanding to boost trade between each other.

The 73 MOUs between 22 Japanese companies and universities with various African countries were signed during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which took place in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta stressed the importance of entrepreneurship as a key driver of economic growth, socio-economic transformation, job creation and social inclusion.  

“I am also equally excited at the prospect of witnessing various MOUs emerging from TICAD VI,” said Kenyatta at the close of the forum.

Kenyatta urged the business community to snap up opportunities to explore partnerships that would contribute to the efforts aimed at transforming economic productivity in Africa.

“We urge you to use Japan’s valuable experience and technical know how to build an African private sector that is not only more dynamic, but also effectively integrated into the global market,” he said.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the large number of companies who participated in TICAD VI in Nairobi was a confirmation of commitment by the private sector in Japan to partner with Africa to achieve its socioeconomic growth goals.

Abe said that his country and Africa would launch the “Japan-Africa Public and Private Economic Forum” as one of the most important outcomes of TICAD V1 conference.

Abe said 67 percent of the previous funds that his country had pledged to Africa had already been put to use in various projects.

The MoUs will cover various sectors including, infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, ICT and mining among others.

Kenyatta lauded the move to launch the Japan-Africa Business Forum, saying it was a timely platform aimed at transforming the continent’s economies.

“In order to develop Africa’s investment climate, Japan will promote high-quality investment agreements in Africa more actively than ever before,” said Abe.

Among the companies which signed MOUs were Keidanren, a private comprehensive economic organisation, Nippon Signal Company which deals with railway signaling and traffic signaling systems, JFE Engineering Corporation involved in the steelmaking and shipbuilding businesses and other activities in energy, environment, urban infrastructure and industrial machinery, as well as Toyota Tsusho which has been doing business in Africa for over 90 years.

Others were KUBOTA Corporation which is one of the leading agricultural machinery manufactures, Japan Tobacco Incorporation which deals with the distribution and selling of tobacco products in more than 20 countries, and Fukuyama Transporting Co. Ltd which deals with sea transport between East African countries and Japan.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Systems LTD, a global leader in thermal power and environmental technologies, IHI Corporation, a comprehensive engineering company, and the LIXIL Group which is involved in the housing and building industry, also signed MoUs.

The conference was addressed by leading private sector representatives from Africa and Japan. The Chairman of Copperbelt Energy Corporation Africa, Siyanga Malumo, from Zambia, noted that multi-nationals owned by Africans needed a level playing field and challenged African governments to create an enabling environment for all players.

The power company Maluma heads is based in Zambia and runs power companies in Nigeria, as well as supplying electricity to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, under the theme “Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda – TICAD Partnership for Prosperity”, was co-organised by the government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission and the World Bank.

Stakeholders included numerous African countries and development partners.

The aim of TICAD is to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their partners and and mobilise support for African-owned development initiatives.

Kenya’s Ambassador to Japan, Solomon Maina, said in the conference newspaper that TICAD VI was a “turning point” because of the “unique interactive session between the private sector and heads of state and government”.

“This is a paradigm shift geared toward moving from official development assistance-oriented programmes to private sector-centred policies for increased trade and investment,” said Maina, echoing a call that ran through the forum on the importance of the private sector as the engine for inclusive growth in Africa.



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