Tomohiko Taniguchi, special adviser to the Japanese government said the otherwise risk-averse Japanese companies are now coming to the realization that Africa can provide them with real growth opportunities.
Needless to say, the number of Japanese currently investing and working in Africa is on the rise. Africa Quest, a Japanese based initiative highlighted this fact and held a workshop which saw in attendance over 100 Japanese people both interested in and investing in Africa. Among the guest speakers were COOs of Andu Amet, Sameshita Hiroko and RICCI Everyday Chizu Nakamoto, fashion brands based in Ethiopia and Uganda respectively with a growing market in both home bases as well as here in Japan. In absentia was the CEO of Digital Grid otherwise known as WASSHA, Akita Satoshi, who runs the NPO, based in Tanzania that aims at providing off-grid areas with prepaid affordable, accessible and safe electricity, with an expanded service to about 650 kiosks in Tanzania during the first half of this year. And added, “If we opened retail outlets ourselves, management would be difficult because we don’t know who the trustworthy customers are. However, such matters will not occur by joining hands with existing kiosks…retailer expansion can take place much faster.” This could very well be the beginning of Africa and Japan working hand in hand to realize the African dream.