The Africa Investment Promotion Forum took place on March 6 in Paris. This initiative of the Japanese foreign trade services brought together nearly 150 French decision-makers, with the prospect of the Tokyo International Conference on Development in Africa (Ticad), which will take place next August in Yokohama.
To go to the commercial conquest of Africa, Japan decided to go through Europe. This is the whole purpose of the Forum for the promotion of investments in Africa organized in Paris, on March 6, by the Japan external trade organization (Jetro), which have already, in the recent past, held the same kind of events in Ivory Coast or Nigeria.
In Africa, the Japanese are looking for investment opportunities for their private sector. In Paris, they try to find the partners who will help them seize them. “The objective is to multiply experiences such as the one carried out between Toyota Tsusho and CFAO in 2012,” explains Katsumi Hirano, executive vice-president of Jetro, who made the trip to France for the occasion. It was the day before in London, again “to identify the sectors on which Japanese and European companies can work together in Africa”.
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Relationships that “progress little”
In Paris, more than 150 French decision-makers, most of whom are at the head of large groups present on the continent, from Bolloré to Orange, via Veolia and… CFAO of course, made the trip along the banks of the Seine. for this meeting.
Just under six months away from the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), 7e of the name, the authorities and the Japanese institutions seem to want to accelerate the exchanges carried out between the archipelago and the continent. Admittedly, the number of Japanese companies present on the continent has experienced an unprecedented peak since the beginning of the decade, but trade and the amount of investments “progress little”, note the persons in charge of the Jetro.
Even the holding, for the first time in Africa, of the Ticad VI in Nairobi in 2016, was not enough to reverse the trend. “This has enabled large groups in the country to now have an African branch. We must now help SMEs to do the same. That’s what the next forum is all about, ”says Katsumi Hirano. For the occasion and for the first time, French, English, but also Indian companies will be invited to the event, which is intended to be much more “than a simple meeting between Japan and Africa”, says the responsible for Jetro.