The New Times (Kigali)

28 August 2014

Rwanda and Japan Agree On Public-Private Sector Linkage

For development to take course, there must be a close linkage between the private and the public sector, Japanese parliamentary vice minister of foreign affairs Ishihara Hirotaka has said.

Hirotaka, who is leading a delegation of about 50 representatives of Japanese private companies and government officials, made the remarks yesterday after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro in Kigali.

The delegation has been in the country for a three-day visit during which they committed to forging business partnerships in the manufacturing sector, auto mobiles, ICT, agro-processing, energy, textile and industry.

The group arrived in the country days after Rwanda and Japan signed a $15-million (about Rwf10 billion) financing agreement to support the development of an irrigation scheme in Ngoma District.

Hirotaka said he shares President Kagame's vision of engaging the private sector in several government dealings .

"There are companies that are already investing in Rwanda and others that are seeking investment opportunities that we believe we have achieved in these meetings," he said.

President Kagame met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year on the sidelines of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), where the two discussed ways of strengthening relations between the two countries.

Then, Abe announced a 3.2 trillion yen (about $32 billion) assistance package for Africa, to be allocated to boost economic growth through private sector development, trade and investment.

"We share the same view with President Kagame that the private sector should work closely with the public sector. Japanese private company investments and Japanese government assistance should be matched to develop and contribute to economic growth in Rwanda," said Hirotaka.

According to the Minister for Finance and Economic planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, Japan is currently funding about 40 projects in the country most of which are in the areas of agriculture, energy, sanitation, education and transport.

The Japanese government, through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), supports the operations of Tumba College of Technology to help the institution produce competent graduates.

Jica also extended a $44-million grant for the establishment of a One-Stop Border Post at the Rwanda-Tanzania border at Rusumo.

"Besides the cooperation between the two countries, the private sectors of both countries are now looking at ways they can forge a new partnership. The Japanese minister holds the view that the cooperation goes beyond governments," said Amb Gatete.

On Wednesday, the visiting Japanese delegation took part in a business seminar organised by Rwanda Development Board to explore possible investment opportunities in Rwanda.

The seminar was attended by representatives of Japanese companies such as Toyota Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Itochu, Nec, Nishimura and Asahi.

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