AfDB President Begins Japan Visit in Osaka

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, on Friday, April 2, 2010, started the first leg of his official visit to Japan in Osaka, the country’s economic capital and business hub. Mr. Kaberuka had several meetings with key businesspeople in the city. He also met with officials of major Japanese multinationals who enabled him get a better understanding of the expectations of Japanese entrepreneurs, their perspectives on Africa’s development and their expectations of the AfDB.

The AfDB delegation organized a seminar on business opportunities for Japanese businesspeople in Africa. Mr. Kaberuka and his delegation used the occasion to present what the continent has on offer – the promise of a continent of the future – with over 60% of its population being less than 25 years old. The seminar featured two films; the first was on the Bank’s history and its activities, while the second film focused on AfDB-Japan partnership.  

Speaking during the occasion, Mr. Kaberuka said he was acting as the continent’s ambassador. He underscored the Bank’s role as a potential facilitator for Japanese investors. The AfDB private sector development director, Tim Turner, for his part, made a presentation, focusing on the major areas of development such as infrastructure; a sector wherein Japanese contributions could be useful to the continent. Some 110 businesspeople attended the seminar.

The second leg of Mr. Kaberuka’s visit will take him to Tokyo. He and his delegation will meet the country’s political authorities and heads of multinationals as well as the president of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Sadako Ogata.

Japan joined the ADF in June 1973 and the AfDB in December 1982. The country is the second largest contributor to the ADF in cumulative terms after the United States and the institution’s 3rd largest shareholder after Nigeria and the United States.

Japan’s collaboration with the Bank Group focuses on three main areas: the ADF replenishment, bilateral trust fund, Japan Policy and Human Resources Development Grant (PHRDG) and the Joint Bank-Japan Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) initiative.

The first cooperation agreement was signed in 1994 between the Japanese finance ministry and the Bank, establishing the PHRDG, a completely untied assistance to support human resources development and technical assistance in Bank Group operations.

EPSA was launched in 2005 with US$1-billion to boost the Bank’s private sector operations over five years.

In 2008 and 2009, the Bank Group signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with JBIC, JICA and the University of Tsukuba, on cooperation in various areas. These include natural resources development, renewable energy, infrastructure, private sector, trade facilitation and liquidity support, agriculture, knowledge partnership on higher education and science and technology

Mr. Kaberuka’s delegation includes the Bank Group’s executive director for Japan, Tetsuya Utamura, as well as several AfDB directors and managers.