The Japan International Cooperation Agency Namibia’s resident representative Takehiro Susaki has expressed worry that the country is not fully utilising JICA, calling on Namibians who find themselves in need of development aid to approach his office.
JICA is a unique donor to African countries that offers development assistance based on the specific needs of the recipient countries.
“I am thinking that there must be many needs for development in Namibia. But the Namibian people did not make many requests for assistance to the Japanese side as they did not know the existence or purpose of JICA in Namibia,” Susaki observed.
He made this statement at the introduction seminar for the official development assistance provided by Japan to Namibia on Friday.
Although JICA opened its office in Namibia some 16 years ago, Susaki said Japan’s assistance to Namibia was not increased; it remained at US$3 million in the 2021 financial year. He believes that if Namibians become more interested in its programmes, this figure will rise.
“I have worked here since May 2021 with a strong mind to accomplish the three S-es, namely scale-up, speed up and spread out the technical cooperation by JICA in Namibia,” Susaki said, adding that to achieve those three S-es, he had to make JICA’s existence better-known here through more communication.
He said while in Uganda, he started to prioritise the spread of information on JICA and its activities to the Ugandan government and media houses from the years 2005 to 2006.
As a result of such actions, the number of JICA volunteers (JOCVs) dispatched to Uganda rapidly increased from 24 to 108.
“Uganda then became famous as receiving the largest size of the JICA volunteers’ cooperation programme in the world,” he added.
Also, he said the size of assistance from Japan to Uganda was increased, and it then reached about US$42 million in FY 2021.
“People who find themselves in need of development aid, should they come across us, will find JICA to be a good development partner to improve their position, their livelihood. This is the base of the scale-up of JICA activities in Namibia,” he reiterated.