JICA President begins three-day visit to Rwanda

JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka (second left) together with his assistants holds a conversation with graduates of ABE Initiative at Telecom House in Kigali. (Photo by Julius Bizimungu).

The President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka, is in Rwanda for a three-day tour which will see him meet various officials and visit different places across the country.

 Kitaoka arrived in Rwanda on Wednesday night.

On Thursday, he paid a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial where he laid wreath to honour victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

JICA President holds conversation with some of the Rwandan beneficiaries of ABE Initiative.

The same day, he toured the Kacyiru-based k-Lab and FabLab, both of which Japan’s Government have been supporting.

This is the first visit of Kitaoka as the President of JICA but he said he visited Rwanda in the past, in 2011.

He told the press on Thursday that his visit follows past meetings he has had with President Paul Kagame, both during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Kenya last year and during the Kagame’s visit to Japan earlier this year.

He is expected to meet the Head of State on Friday.

JICA President met the graduates of the African Business Education (ABE) initiative, a programme which offers opportunities for young Africans to study masters’ courses in Japanese Universities.

41 Rwandans (including the current ABE students in Japan) have gone to Japan to pursue their masters’ degrees in various domains under this initiative since 2014.

“It is great that (through this programme) young people now have access to opportunities in the information technology. From them, there can be some billionaire in the future,” he noted.

JICA currently supports other works in ICT, including the “250 Start-ups”, an incubation programme that accelerates startu-ps to be fundable in the period of six months.

“250 Start-ups” is a strategic initiative of ICT chamber to achieve its goals to help create 100 technology companies with valuation exceeding US$ 50 million by 2025.

Meanwhile, Kitaoka is expected to visit Rusumo International Bridge and One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facilities at the Rwanda-Tanzania border.

Rusumo OSBP is one of the transport infrastructure facilities which were constructed under JICA’s grant aid back in 2014.