Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a new ICT development project for training professionals to drive national development.
Dubbed the ‘ICT Human Resource Development’ project, the initiative was launched Thursday in partnership with the Private Sector Federation’s ICT chamber, and Kobe City, Japan’s fifth largest city.
The project was also introduced in collaboration with Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC), a renowned graduate school in ICT development.
According to JICA, the two-year project targets youth who already have basic ICT skills, and those who plan to launch their ICT-related businesses.
Speaking during the launch of the project at kLab, Hiroyuki Takada, JICA’s representative, said that supporting the project is an indicative of JICA’s commitment to science and technology education.
“We are glad to be part of this project, particularly as the main partners who are going to finance it. JICA is committed to supporting diverse areas of development and this particular project reflects our efforts toward promotion of science and technology education,” he said.
Takada said science and technology is one of the four main areas that Japan’s development agency is focusing on.
“JICA supports critical areas of development including infrastructure, science and technology education, agriculture, as well as water and sanitation. We are trying to position ourselves as a bridge of the private sector and the government, and this project is an example of the efforts,” he said.
Under the project, about 45 young ICT professionals will be provided with training opportunities that focus on enhancing their employability, as well as producing capable human resources in the sector that satisfy the technical and general skills standards required in the market.
Shizuka Funayama, the project manager, said the project runs until 2019, and will see 15 professionals in three different batches to travel to Japan’s Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC).
She said prospective students will undergo intensive six-month training learning Internet of Things (IoT), problem solving, leadership and other hands-on skills.
1,000 IT professionals
According to Robert Ford, the vice chair of the ICT Chamber at PSF, the target is to create 1,000 IT professionals by 2020 and this project will contribute to other initiatives to achieve this target.
“We want to equip students and businesses with relevant skills needed to solve socio-economic issues with ICT as an enabler. This project is an extension of what we had already started,” he said.
Ford said the project is worth $0.5 million, but highlighted that the initiative’s expectations are beyond the monetary value.
Kenji Fukuoka, the vice president of KIC, reiterated the institute’s support, saying their mission is to continue supporting Rwanda to create IT experts who will be at the heart of solving problems, and also support job creation.
KIC has been receiving 23 Rwandan students every year at its Master’s course through the Africa Business Education Initiative for youth (also known as the ABE Initiative).