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Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Despite recent economic slowdown both regionally and globally, Africa, with its dynamic private sectors, growing population and abundant resources, continued to grow 2.2 % in 2016 and is estimated to have rebounded to 3.4% in 2017 and accelerate to 4.1% in 2018 and 2019.

Strengthening “connectivity” is a key driver in structurally transforming African economies to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth while reinforcing resilience amid external risks. To speed up this transformation, the continent must integrate markets, improve global and regional value chains, create an enabling environment, enhance public-private partnerships and multinational alliances around private sector activities, and make optimal use of technology.

In recent years, Japan’s economic partnership with African countries has grown significantly. Its direct investment in Africa has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years.

At the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announced that Japan would invest $30 billion over three years into Africa including for public-private investment. Minister Abe also announced the launch of the Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum in Africa to accelerate private-sector-led economic growth. The forum will take place on May 3 and 4 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Co-hosted by the government of Japan and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in collaboration with South Africa, the forum is a platform for Japanese and African businesses and development-related institutions to highlight their work and discuss how public and private sectors can work together to boost investment and make the best use of public and private resources.

The event will comprise a plenary and thematic session, networking events and an exhibition. More than 100 business executives from Japan are expected to attend the forum, including Yamaha Motor CEO Yoshihiro Hidaka and Toshiba Corporation CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa.

Discussions at the plenary sessions will focus on cross-cutting themes of relevance to African countries and Japan, which will be represented by Japanese ministers. Topics will include opportunities and challenges for collaboration; enhancing connectivity and improving infrastructure in Africa; exploring new frontiers for business; addressing challenges for transforming economies in Africa; and Japan’s role in making further progress.

Thematic sessions will allow engagements between the Japanese and African business communities, focusing on new business frontiers and technologies; skills development, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship; infrastructure, power and energy; and showcasing Japanese business in Africa.

The B2B meetings are an opportunity for business delegates to network and build business partnerships and multinational alliances around private sector activities in Africa.

In addition, The Japan Fair will be an exhibition showcasing Japanese products.

For more information, visit http://japanafricaforum.org/

This article was paid for by the Japan External Trade Organization.