Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Africa-Japan Business and Investment Forum

Africa-Japan Business Investment Forum 2015 underway
31 August - 2 September 2015. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 2nd Africa – Japan Business Investment Forum brought together some of the key actors in the Japanese and African business and government circles. 

The Forum, convened by the top African publisher, IC Publications and the leading financial and business media group in Japan, Nikkei Business Publications (Nikkei BP) focus on key investment sectors including infrastructure, finance, agri-business, commodities, energy, logistics and technology. 

Over 100 business representatives and senior officials From the Japanese side have participated in the Forum.
Ethiopia has already formulated a climate resilient green economic development strategy that leads to a sustainable economic development. The country is closely working with various international partners to disseminate renewable energy technologies: solar home system, improved efficiency stoves, bio gas digesters and like. The provision of sustainable renewable energy is crucial ingredient in achieving economic growth and poverty reduction. The forum is a good opportunity for Africa to accumulate best experiences of Japan. Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu
Extract of the program:

Energy: Creating Sustainable Solutions
  • Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia
  • Shuntaro Yamazaki, Executive Specialist- Smart Energy Business Unit, NEC Corporation
  • Samuel Alemayehu, Managing Director, Cambridge Industries Ltd
  • Masanori Sakanashi, General Manager, East Africa, Marubeni Corporation, Japan
  • Luka Buljan, Investment Director, Berkeley Energy Fund
Agriculture- led Growth:

Keynote Address: Carl Heinrich Bruhn, CEO, Amatheon Agri Holding NV
  • Osamu Hashiramoto, Director, International Cooperation Division, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
  • Ramesh Damodaran Moochikal, Regional Head- South & East Africa, Olam International Ltd.
  • Yemi Akinbamijo, Director, FARA
The Forum was held in the spirit of Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-V) process, which provides an excellent chance to strengthen the trade and investment relationship. Although Japanese companies supply quality products to the global market, their investment activity in Africa is very low and the number of investors very few. 

When asked why Japan seemed to lag behind other countries, notably China, when it comes to investing in Africa, the Vice President of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency's Africa Department, Hiroshi Kato, highlighted number of factors. Regarding the perceived 'timid engagement', he reminded delegates that in the mid-90s and the early 2000s, just when African economic growth started to pick up, Japan was entering a long recession. "The focus of Japanese companies was to retrench rather than expand, and therefore businesses were much more inward looking. When Japan did start to look outwards, it looked 'closer to home', that is Asian markets such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam."

Kenya is set to host next year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). This will be the first time that the TICAD conference will be held in Africa.

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