Policy Workshop on Japan Kenya Relations (The First Pre-event of TICAD VI)
As the first pre-event of TICAD VI, a Policy Workshop was held at the Embassy of Japan on Friday, 4th March, 2016. The Workshop consisted of a Public Lecture delivered by Mr. Akihiko Koenuma, General Manager at Marubeni Corporation, Abidjan Office, and a panel discussion.
The Policy Workshop was officially opened by Mr. Tatsushi Terada, Ambassador of Japan in Kenya and Ambassador Ben Ogutu, Director General of the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) VI Secretariat from the Government of Kenya. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Terada informed the audience that the main aim of the policy workshop was to highlight the importance of TICAD in bringing about resilient and sustainable growth in the African continent with an emphasis placed on private investment in Africa. Ambassador Ogutu reiterated this fact by stating that for the first time the TICAD conference would involve the private sector in the plenary sessions with heads of states.
The workshop started with the lecture delivered by Mr. Koenuma, explaining past contributions of TICAD in the development of Africa. He also articulated the way forward for boosting Japanese private investment. The lecture covered several topics which included:
Africa's Development Path and the TICAD Process. Mr. Koenuma mentioned that TICAD was introduced against a backdrop of deepening poverty in Africa and to aid fatigue of development partners towards Africa. The Contribution of the Past Five TICAD Conferences.
The first TICAD was held when emphasis was placed on political and economic reform TICAD has placed emphasis on the ownership of the development process by African States TICAD has stressed the importance on infrastructure development, capacity building, promotion of sustainable and resilient growth and the creation of an inclusive society for growth
The Contribution of the Government of Japan to Africa's Development through TICAD. The Contribution of the Japanese Private Sector to Africa's Development Japan's Public-Private Partnership in other Emerging Markets. The Future Expectations for Japan's Contribution to the African Continent. The high potentials for private-public partnerships are apparent especially in light of a rapid increase in the number of Japanese companies in Kenya (25 Japanese companies in 2012 to 41 in 2016)
Then, the lecture was followed by a panel discussion. The panelists of the workshop were Mr. Polycarp Igathe, Managing Director, Vivo Energy Kenya; Mr. Kennedy Manyala, Chief Operating Officer, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA); Prof. Wainaina Gituro, Acting Director General, Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat; and Mr. Mikio Mori, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan. As a moderator, Prof. Peter Kagwanja, Chief Executive, Africa Policy Institute, participated in the discussion. Workshop attendees consisted of diplomatic mission representatives, the Japanese and Kenyan business community, university dons, the media, university students and the public in general.
Some of the issues raised during the panel discussion were:
The need for Japan to market itself more. The need for the private sector to be ready to participate in TICAD VI. Expectations of the private sector for TICAD VI.
Mr. Igathe pointed out that the private sector has long been left out from the process of development and it is high time the private sector capitalized on TICAD. He stressed the importance of the public sector's responsibility to ensure a conducive environment for investment by establishing sufficient infrastructure. He referred to the Western-Ring Road, as an example of high-quality infrastructure which was funded by Japan.
Mr. Manyala questioned whether a perfect business environment, would make the African Private Sector competitive. In reference to this, he put forward his expectations of the TICAD VI conference which included: enterprise development, technology uptake whereby he noted the need to improve the skills of the private sector and to transform the education system so that it is responsive to the current trend(for example, examining subjects that add value to the future and strengthening polytechnics for much needed skills development) and the development of clean energy mechanisms.
Prof. Wainaina noted that development cannot be achieved by the government alone or by multinationals. Instead, to transform society it was necessary to deal with issues of inclusive growth especially when it comes to gender, education and social cohesion, good governance and democracy, people driven development, opportunity for upward mobility, a globally competitive service sector among other issues.
Mr. Mikio Mori informed the participants that unlike the previous TICAD meetings, TICAD VI would be outstanding because of its enhanced inclusive nature. For the first time, the Japanese and Kenyan private sector would be included in the plenary sessions. He stated that TICAD VI would also address the issues of African development such as health, peacebuilding, infrastructure development and human capacity development.
Prof. Kagwanja closed the workshop by mentioning that for TICAD VI to be a success, there was need for:
systematic build up activities that cut across sectors Africa to have the will to showcase what it has Japan to bring what it considers necessary for Africa needs and for TICAD VI to start on a new slate by focusing on what African wants and where it is headed.
The Japanese Embassy is committed to bringing about a series of economic, cultural, political as well as social events, up to the Conference in August.