The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sam K. Kutesa on Monday met with the Vice President for Sub-Saharan African Affairs of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr. Hiroshi Kato, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Kutesa welcomed Mr. Kato to Uganda and expressed Uganda’s gratitude and appreciation for the tremendous financial and technical support JICA has given to Uganda over the years.
Hon. Kutesa recalled various projects funded by JICA like the Kampala Flyover Construction and Road Upgrading Project, the New Nile Bridge at Jinja and its strategic importance in connecting the Northern Corridor route, the rural electrification projects as well as assistance from the Government of Japan through the multilateral framework.
Mr. Kato said he was glad to be in Uganda and informed Hon. Kutesa that JICA had carried out various project assessments and was now exploring the possibility of extensions on some of them, particularly in the areas of rice production and irrigation development under the grants and loan programs.
He explained the increasing role of the private sector in Japan’s aid saying that JICA was widening its usual focus on traditional forms of aid by emphasizing the importance of private sector investment and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to Africa’s development.
In light of these changes, he said, JICA would be encouraging Small and Medium private business Enterprises to come and explore doing business in Uganda.
He explained that whereas they may not be large conglomerates, they are hi-tech and agile and can make decisions to break into the Ugandan market quickly.
Mr. Kato added that under the African Business Education (ABE) initiative, JICA would invite businesspersons for a two-year Masters Program in Japan and build a Ugandan core-business group that is familiar with how the Japanese people do business, culture and work ethics.
This core would serve as contacts who would bridge the cultural gap for Japanese firms that want to do business in Uganda.
Hon. Kutesa responded that the proposals by JICA were consistent with Vision 2040, and JICA’s involvement in private sector development was a great step forward.
Uganda’s economy should be Private-sector led and that business-business development was a positive development in Uganda-Japan bilateral cooperation.
The two also discussed the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI) scheduled to be held from 27 to 28 August 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Under TICAD V Japan pledged contributions worth $32 billion to sub-Saharan Africa from 2013 to 2018 through a mix of public and private resources, including $2 billion in trade insurance and $14 billion in official development assistance (ODA).
The meeting was attended by Hon. Henry Oryem Okello, Minister of State for International Affairs.