The Vice President of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Kato Hiroshi last week paid a two-day visit to Botswana to inspect projects that were undertaken by Japanese volunteers and hold bilateral talks with government officials.
Hiroshi, who is responsible for Rural Development, Global Partnership and Research in Africa, visited the Mass Media Complex where he was updated on BTV’s implementation of the digital migration project, which received technical assistance from JICA. He held talks with Deputy Permanent Secretary-Information and Broadcasting in the Ministry of State Presidency, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo. Hiroshi also met with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Elias Magosi and they deliberated on some of the projects that JICA is assisting the Ministry on, such as the project for Enhancing National Forest Monitoring System for the promotion of sustainable natural resource management.
He also took time out to visit the SADC Secretariat where he met with Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration Dr Themba Mhlongo and SADC Director of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Margaret Nyirenda.
In an interview at the JICA offices just before leaving the country, Hiroshi said JICA will this year collaborate with SADC in a project for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in Southern Africa. The Vice President also made a stop at Botswana National Productive Centre (BNPC) where he held talks with Executive Director, Baeti Molake.
“JICA and BNPC have embarked on a massive strategy called the KAIZEN Philosophy which is a work improvement concept practiced by the Japanese to improve productivity in the work place”, he said. Hiroshi told this publication that JICA has already deployed eight volunteers to seven government offices to lead the KAIZEN initiative. “Since the establishment of the JICA office in Botswana in 1992, JICA has been implementing technical assistance to Botswana aimed at supporting infrastructure development and human resource developments towards diversification of industries”, said the Vice President. Hiroshi said he was grateful for the hospitality and the warm reception he received from Batswana during his visit. He said he was impressed by Botswana’s beauty and its wide and open skies. Hiroshi encouraged Batswana to take advantage of the Africa Business Education (ABE) which is the initiative of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that is aimed at affording 1,000 youths in Africa with opportunities to study at Japanese universities as well as do internships at Japanese enterprises.
“This is meant to foster Africa’s sustainable and sound industrial development”, Hiroshi explained. ABE offers scholarships for Masters and Internship programs. Hiroshi said they are trying to assist where possible with the limited resources they have. He said he foresees JICA and Botswana’s cooperation growing as they are encouraged by the country’s peace and tranquility. Hiroshi was accompanied by JICA Resident Representative in Botswana, Akihiko Hoshino.