The SADC-Japan Business Investment Forum was a two day event hosted from June 9th to 10th at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. The forum was an effort to attract investors from the Japanese private sector to the Southern African market by showcasing the kind of socio-economic opportunities that are available. Additionally, it showcased Japanese companies that have been successful in the Southern African market.
On the first day, the focus of the forum was to outline the opportunities and challenges being faced by the infrastructure, transportation, and logistic fields. Additionally, there were discussions about environment, energy, and agribusiness investment opportunities with the emphasis on the need for assuring food security. Japanese professionals and African delegates gave their input through presentations and panel discussions.
The second day of the forum outlined the possibilities and need for Japanese investments in the SADC region. In the session “Doing Business with SADC”, the need for an increase in business between Asia and Africa was pointed out. In order to encourage business investments, the panelists, Hon. Sadique Kebonang, Mr. Majakathata Mokoena, Dr. D. M. Sibanda, and Mr. Yasunori Takeuchi discussed several ideas ranging from Duty Free zones to a faster registration of companies.
During the Social Innovation session of the second day of the forum, one notable company that has had an impact on the Southern African market in technological and social innovation is the NEC Corporation. Mr. Hironobu Kurosaki, the General Manager of the North America, Latin America, and EMEA Division gave a brief presentation on its success as a company working with African partners and governments to bring enhanced technology and social change to Africa. In addition, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena, the Senior Program Officer for Transport at the SADC Secretariat, outlined the importance and need of investors to further progress socio-economic development.
The two day event is considered successful due to more than 300 participants in attendance from both the Japanese private sector and SADC leaders.