Tokyo, 5 July 2022 (TDI): Japan and Africa partnerships have continued gaining importance over the past few years. The partnerships between Japan and Africa have existed for the past five decades.

Following the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 1993, Japan and Africa focused on cooperation.

During this conference, the two parties discussed problems and also the solutions to these problems.

The cooperation has three main characteristics, namely ‘people-focused, respecting ownership, and utilizing the Japanese experience’.

As the partnership is people-focused, this lies in the notion of human security. Therefore, it includes strengthening societies so that every person can pursue their potential. This includes having access to completing school and job opportunities.

In addition, utilizing the Japanese experience means that people are supposed to use the knowledge and lessons learned in Japan.

“For example, the approach to industrial development known as KAIZEN which supported Japan’s rapid economic growth, is now being adapted for, and disseminated in Africa,” said MASUDA Junko, the Director-General of JICA‘s Africa Department.

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Japan’s support for Africa

Africa is also making significant progress as it is trying to move away from aid-dependency to greater self-reliance.

As Japan has been a supporter of African development, the country has been a close friend of the continent as well.

On the African side, Japan’s long-lasting cooperation is highly appreciated. A researcher on Africa and a Professor at Ritsumeikan University College, SHIRATO Keiichi hopes that African societies will become “more stable and prosperous, which will lead to peace and prosperity for Japan and the world.”

Japan has been helping Africa in various ways, from financial assistance to health-related matters.

In 2018, the African Diplomatic Corps held a festival in Japan called ‘Africa Now in Hibiya Park, Tokyo’.

It aimed to bring Africa and Japan closer by introducing African culture to Japan. Furthermore, many embassies from 38 countries attended the event and showed off their cultural foods, fashion, and lifestyle.

The Japanese government also founded the African Business Education Initiative (ABE Initiative).

Therefore, the initiative gives qualified young African men and women a two-year opportunity for professional education at graduate schools throughout Japan so that they are able to form the backbone of Africa in the future.