Executive Senior Vice President of Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, Koshikawa Kazuhiko, has pledged support to the Government of Sierra Leone during a meeting on the margins of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD7.
Welcoming His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio, Mr. Koshikawa lauded his Government for recently signing the Cooperation Agreements with the Government of Japan on 22 August 2019 in Freetown. He also explained the support JICA had provided to the West African nation over the years, which included financial and humanitarian assistance.
"Mr President, we support the policies of your New Direction Government, which include empowerment of young people, the fight against corruption and investment in human capital development," Mr Koshikawa said, adding that JICA had new projects that would seek to support Japanese Small and Medium Enterprises to invest in Sierra Leone, leading to the creation of employment and promotion of private sector growth.
On the opportunities for more cooperation, Mr Koshikawa spoke about a huge market in Japan for fishes from Sierra Leone, adding that the two countries would also explore cooperation in both the agriculture and energy sectors.
In his response, President Bio thanked the Government of Japan, through JICA, for their support to Sierra Leone over the years. He said he was particularly pleased that JICA had recently upgraded its offices in Sierra Leone from a field office to a country office that would expand the portfolio of Japanese projects in the country. He also commended JICA for their commitment to upgrading one Government Hospital in Sierra Leone.
"As a new Government, we want to now look at trade and investment cooperation with JICA. We are particularly keen on investment in the energy sector and we have also made a lot of reforms in the business environment," President Bio said.
He also spoke about the need for more technical cooperation including scholarships for young people, the opportunity for their companies to set up aftercare services for Japanese vehicles in Sierra Leone and value addition to both the agriculture and fishery sectors.
The President was accompanied to the meeting by the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the People's Republic of China, H.E. Ernest Ndomahina, and the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Honourable Joseph J. Ndanema