Last week, the Japan International Cooperation Agency Vice President HirosHi Kato was in the country on a four day official visit. Over the four days, he visited a number of projects the agency is implementing in the country and also had a series of meetings with top government officials. The New Times Collins Mwai caught up with him for insights to JICA cooperation and support framework with Rwanda.
Below are excerpts:
This being your first visit to Rwanda, what was the overall purpose of the trip and what impressions did you get?
This is my first visit to Rwanda and I have been looking forward to it for a long time. Since I assumed my current position about 2 years ago, I have been looking forward to the visit.
The purpose of the visit was to acquaint myself with national development, Rwanda being one of our closest partner countries in Africa since we re-established our support and cooperation with the Rwandan government 10 years ago in 2005. The purposes also included seeing the progress in the cooperation between the two countries and also meet top government officials as well as visit projects we support.
I was very much satisfied with the results of my visit which showed that the cooperation has been dynamic and productive.
JICA supports a range of areas and projects in the Country, during your stay what was your overall evaluation of the projects and their impacts?
In our cooperation framework, there are several prioritized areas; rural agriculture development, water, infrastructure and human resource development. I visited several projects that we support in the various areas, talked to experts in the respective areas who are all very encouraged by the progress and development so far.
In agriculture, I visited a project that aims at improving the productivity on the ground by sensitizing the farmers on market needs and also providing them with necessary skills and know-how to improve their productivity. An important element for agriculture development is irrigation where we have just started a project to support the construction of an irrigation scheme in Ngoma district, which will provide infrastructure and sufficient water for farmers to produce throughout the year unlike the past when they solely relied on rainfalls.
In human resource development, I visited Tumba College of Technology with whom we have been cooperating for almost 10 years. We are very much satisfied as the school has developed itself into one of the centres of excellence in vocational and technical training. We also understand that the government aims at creating a knowledge-based economy for which ICT development is very important. We have provided assistance through an advisor in the Ministry of Youth and ICT and there are several important developments.