THE TIES THAT BUILD

Zambia 2014 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Akihiko Tanaka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on the high-level of cooperation between Japan and Zambia, and the results of this long-standing relationship.

Akihiko Tanaka
BIOGRAPHY
Akihiko Tanaka is the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Before assuming his present post, he was Professor of International Politics and most recently Vice-President at the University of Tokyo (2011-2012). He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of Tokyo and PhD in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written numerous books and articles in Japanese and English. He received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2012 for his academic achievements.

Firstly, I would like to extend my very best wishes to the people of Zambia on the 50th year of independence. Zambia and Japan have enjoyed a cordial relationship in the last 50 years. The relationship is particularly memorable because Zambia's Independence Day, October 24, 1964, fell on the last day of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Naturally, Japan became one of the countries to first recognize Zambia as an independent state. The two countries have continued to enjoy good diplomatic relationships, accentuated by the visits of four Zambian heads of state between 1980 and June 2013 including HE Michael Chilufya Sata. Japan has reciprocated with equally high-profile visits.

Japan's development cooperation with Zambia started with a training program of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the implementing agency of Japan's official development assistance (ODA), in 1968 followed by six Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) in 1970. To date, JICA has received more than 3,000 Zambians for its training programs in Japan, and dispatched more than 1,300 volunteers and close to 1,000 experts to Zambia. The total amount of Japan's cooperation with Zambia, including ODA loans and grant aid, is more than $2.1 billion.

In the last decade, Zambia has been successfully attaining its scenario to attain and sustain economic growth and social development towards a prosperous middle-income nation by the year 2030 under the “Vision 2030." The thrust of our current cooperation in Zambia is under the theme, “Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth through Economic Diversification," which is in line with the Revised Sixth National Development Plan (2013-2016).

JICA has been continuing its cooperation with the Zambian government to tackle the country's major challenges as follows: First, quality of products and productivity, second infrastructure necessary for socio-economic activities, and third social services such as health, education, and access to water.

(I) IMPROVING PRODUCT QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY:

Agriculture and livestock development: One of our remarkable acts of cooperation is in agriculture and livestock development. The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia, built under grant aid and handed over to Zambia in 1986, has been a partner in our long-term technical cooperation. It emerged as one of the Centers of Excellence in Africa in viral disease diagnosis. Equipped with laboratory facilities, the center enabled the Zambian government to quickly detect the African Swine Fever, which broke out and claimed many pigs in 2013. The quick detection contributed to saving the growing pork industry in the country. Since August 2014, the center has been monitoring the Ebola virus, which recently broke out in the continent. The school has educated more than 300 veterinary doctors, from a meager number of less than 20 at the time of independence.

Productivity improvement: JICA has already jointly implemented the “Triangle of Hope Project," where investments were promoted through South-South Cooperation in partnership with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA). We are also supporting capacity development of the newly established KAIZEN Institute of Zambia. To attain better productivity and accelerate investment, the Zambian government and JICA will further strengthen collaboration with their partners such as the private sector including Japanese companies, academic institutions, local governments, and NGOs.

(II) DEVELOPING NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE:

JICA has also been Zambia's close partner in the transport and energy sector. We have been supporting various road and bridge projects under the Grant Aid Scheme, such as Kafue Bridge, Chirundu Bridge at the border with Zimbabwe, the Great East Road and other city roads in the capital city Lusaka, and city roads in Ndola and Kitwe in Copperbelt province. The construction of the 14.8 kilometer long Lusaka Inner Ring Road (Phase 1), which links Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (LS MFEZ) to the central business district, is currently underway and will be completed by December 2014. For the energy sector, JICA assisted to formulate a Rural Electrification Master Plan, assisted capacity building in the Rural Electrification Authority, and provided a concessional loan to implement the Increased Access to Electricity Services (IAES) Project of the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), which will see the upgrading of the electrification capacity in seven provinces of Zambia (Central, Eastern, Luapula, Northern, Northwestern, Southern, and Western).

(iii) ACCELERATING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND STRENGTHENING THE DELIVERY OF BASIC SERVICES:

The education sector in Zambia has also been an important factor for JICA's cooperation for a long time. In the last 34 years, JICA dispatched at least 240 volunteer teachers of Science and Mathematics in secondary schools. Since 2005, “Lesson Study" practice has been developed and introduced under a technical cooperation scheme as an effective method of continuing professional development (CPD) for in-service teachers, and is currently being rolled out to all the provinces. JICA, together with other development partners, started to pump a grant of about $10 million to break the “myth" that science cannot be taught in rural areas by combining efforts that include the roll-out of 1,000 mobile science laboratory sets to 200 schools. This action will see a minimum of 400,000 pupils gaining access to practical science education. In addition, we have consistently stood by the Zambian government to provide safe water for the last two decades. For example, under the Grant Aid Scheme, more than 1,900 boreholes were constructed in most parts of the country, effectively reaching out to at least 800,000 people as beneficiaries.

TICAD V & COOPERATION AHEAD

The Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) took place in Japan in June, 2013. During the TICAD V, the “Yokohama Declaration 2013" was adopted. One of its basic themes is women and youth empowerment. Human resource development and the creation of job opportunities are of importance in JICA activities in Zambia. We started a survey for the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative) to provide opportunities for Zambians to study in Japanese universities. The government of Japan also announced at the TICAD V that it would assist to boost the growth of Africa through private sector trade and investment. I believe that Zambia will attain its Vision 2030 by utilizing its rich human resources and natural resources.

We have already implemented the “Triangle of Hope Project," wherein investments were promoted through South-South Cooperation in partnership with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), and we are currently supporting capacity development at the newly established KAIZEN Institute of Zambia. We at JICA will continue to support the efforts of the Zambian Government to further strengthen collaboration with its partners in the Japanese private sector, academic institutions, local governments, and NGOs.

As a long-lasting friend to Zambia, JICA will continue to extend its hand of friendship as a key partner in development. We look forward to strengthening technical cooperation, as well as financial cooperation for infrastructure development.