IDJ-ENGLISH Strategies Necessary for Growth in Africa over the next 20 Years


Strategies Necessary for Growth in Africa over the next 20 Years

-The COVID-19 Crisis increases the benefits of partnering with local companies

Kohei Muto, CEO/Co-Founder
Double Feather Partners Co., Ltd.
In Africa, the last growth frontier, Japanese companies are expanding their businesses. However, barriers to advancement are still high. What kind of strategies should Japanese companies adopt in the region into the future? We ask Kohei Muto, CEO of Double Feather Partners Co., Ltd., who has a rich track record in supporting business in Africa, and who also participates in the public-private African Business Council. (Interviewed by Saki Kawata)
Professional groups from financial institutions
We have many graduates from financial institutions, and we provide comprehensive support, such as research, financial and management strategic advice to local companies in Africa and Japanese companies aiming to expand into Africa. We also invest in startups with our own funds, and we support the growth of companies from a medium- to long-term perspective while taking risks by ourselves. We are also preparing to launch a venture fund to further expand investments in startups.
Rapid growth due to population growth and deregulation
At a time when uncertainty is increasing due to the COVID-19 crisis, the situation is not easy for investment or expansion in Africa. Transportation costs are rising as supply chains are damaged. Business costs are higher in manufacturing and other industries than ever before. However, as the population declines in each country, only the African continent will grow in the world. It is said that one in four of the world’s population will be African by 2050.
In Africa, where laws and regulations are loose, it is easy to conduct demonstration experiments for social implementation of state-of-the-art technologies and businesses that are strictly regulated in developed countries. Especially in the field of telemedicine, deregulation is progressing as the shortage of medical personnel becomes more serious. In urban development, Africa, where infrastructure is not well maintained, has the potential to create new AI cities from scratch. Not only IT companies, but also developers and manufacturers can challenge businesses using new ideas that cannot be found in Japan.
When expanding business overseas, it is important not only to look at Asia, Europe and the United States, but also to take into account such growth in Africa in five or 20 years’ time . It is also necessary to develop a strategy for what kind of business portfolio should be formed now in a way that will increase the business value of the company.
Rapidly growing local startups
There are three main ways to enter Africa. The first is to enter the market on a zero-based basis, creating factories and establishing local branches. The second is to make promising local companies affiliated companies through business collaboration and capital alliances, and then expand the businesses together. The third is via mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with local companies.
In particular, amid the COVID-19 crisis, the latter two have a certain economic rationality. This is because, while the business value of promising local companies is generally relatively decreasing, the long-term growth rate is large enough from a macro perspective. Especially in Africa, the growth of companies centered on digital assets such as fintech, health tech and e-commerce have seen remarkable progress in recent years. Venture capital companies around the world also tend to invest more in these startups.
Under such a situation, there are many advantages to Japanese companies working with local startups. Because, in Africa, it is not yet at the stage where consumers can buy high-quality products from Japan considering the level of disposable income. It will take another 10 to 20 years to get to that stage, but it would be too late to enter the market by that time. European, Chinese and Korean companies would already occupy the majority share of the market.
On the other hand, even if you enter now, you cannot sell your products. But if you have a business or capital alliance with a local company at such times, even if your products do not sell, the profit of the investing company will become your own profit in the future.
In addition, by developing products through R&D with local partner companies for local needs, including demonstration experiments, it is possible to enter the market as quickly as possible when purchasing power increases. It does not mean that you cannot win unless you work with startups, but it can be said that whether you have such a medium- to long-term strategy will be intrinsic to future success.
For African companies, collaboration with Japanese companies has other benefits in addition to financing. One of them is human resource education. For example, local companies that develop cashless payment systems often have no knowledge of the hardware, even if the system, itself, can be developed. Taking such opportunities, Japanese companies dispatch engineers to provide technology and knowledge. While solving local issues, you can contribute to human resource development and grow your own business. It complies with the current trends of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To work with the Japanese government is also extremely important for entering the African market. Information about Africa is limited because there is a physical distance from Japan and little cultural relationship. Few countries still have bilateral tax treaties. In some cases, it is possible to obtain appropriate information by working with the government, JICA, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), etc., and to exchange opinions on proposals for improvement of the legal system together. Companies are more likely to avoid various risks this way, than by challenging them alone.
In addition, the “Basic Information Gathering Confirmation Survey on the Formation of the African Regional Startup Ecosystem”, which we are currently commissioned to conduct by JICA, is closely related to the promotion of overseas expansion of Japanese companies.
In this project, under the name of the project NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan), an acceleration program to promote the growth of local startups is being conducted in Kenya and South Africa over three years to investigate issues related to the formation of ecosystems. Kenya and South Africa have the largest amounts of funding raised by startups in Africa. Kenya, known as “Silicon Savannah”, has attracted talented tech talent from Europe, the United States and other countries. South Africa, which has a high level of education, also has many excellent engineers and is active in starting businesses. In Europe and the U.S., excellent engineers are often highly paid by GAFA. However, since there is no GAFA development base in South Africa as yet, it is easy to attract such excellent human resources. This is one of the factors contributing to the environment in which startups are easy to grow.
A business contest will be launched in Japan in February this year, and an acceleration program to be launched in Kenya in April. Among them, we will cooperate with Japanese companies, world-class venture capital companies with which we work, and European and U.S. companies. By creating bridges not only between Japan, but also the world and Africa, we, a Japanese company, are looking to support the development of African companies to become global such as GAFA and Alibaba of China. I would like to continue to focus on matching African companies with Japanese companies, and support them to reflect the growth of the African market in improving the business value of Japanese companies.
Japan’s ODA, which has been implemented in Asia so far, can be characterized as a subsidy from Japan in the medium- to long-term, and there have been few mechanisms to continue to deepen exchanges with Japanese companies in both directions from an economic point of view. From Japan’s standpoint, there was no idea that innovative companies would be born from poor developing countries.
However, in fact, innovation has born from such places, and global companies appeared one after another. In Africa. We should make use of that lesson. In addition to individual projects to create infrastructure, it is desirable to more actively promote the creation of a sustainable system that flexibly supports corporate growth in parallel with a company’s medium- to long-term business strategy.
“International Development Journal”, February edition, 2021



(株)Double Feather Partners
CEO/共同創業者 武藤 康平氏
最後の成長フロンティアと呼ばれるアフリカには、日本企業の進出も増えつつある。だが進出への障壁は今なお高い。日本企業は今後、どのような戦略をもってこの地域に挑むべきか。アフリカでのビジネス支援で豊富な実績を持ち、官民によるアフリカビジネス協議会にも参画している(株)Double feather PartnersのCEO、武藤康平氏に聞いた。


IDJ-ENGLISH Working with Japan to fight global crises


Message for Japan

Monzurul Huq
Correspondent to Tokyo
Bangladesh Newspaper, “Prothom Alo”

Working with Japan to fight global crises

-Young people need jobs in Bangladesh

It has been five years since the day that shocked the people of our two countries – Bangladesh and Japan. We, the people of Bangladesh, would like to commemorate and express our sincere gratitude once again to our Japanese friends who worked on the construction of infrastructure and economic development of Bangladesh, and who regrettably became the targets of terrorism.
Flowers will be laid at a ceremony in Dhaka on July 1 to mourn all who had fallen victim on that day, including Italians as well as Bangladeshis who also died along with the Japanese victims. Dhaka’s urban transportation system, which Japan is building with Official Development Assistance (ODA), is expected to open by the end of this year. In Bangladesh, there is a proposal to write about the tragedy that tragically claimed the lives of the people who contributed to the project, on a station plaque, to ensure that what happened is passed on to younger generations in the future.
The incident happened just as Islamic fundamentalist forces were rising globally. But no one could have predicted that anything like this was to happen in Bangladesh. As a result, this incident had set off a big alarm. After that, the Bangladeshi government proceeded with some difficult arrests and succeeded in containing the spread of terrorist acts. Helped by the success in containing the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, young people who were being drawn towards Islamic fundamentalism seem to have been mostly contained in our country.
However, containment by force is not a permanent solution. Young people need to have employment opportunities and income sources. Otherwise, there is still the risk that there could be a resurgence of radical thoughts.
In Bangladesh there are many other risks the country is facing, and climate change is the most serious one. The cyclone that struck in 1991 killed more than 100,000 people. Since then, with the cooperation of the Japanese government and NGOs, many cyclone shelters have been built in coastal areas, and the number of casualties has dropped significantly. However, disasters are frequent due to climate change. If the sea level rise continues in the future, there is a possibility of millions of “climate refugees” in our country. Japan has increased its coastal area assistance, in spite of international community’s slowing down of support for developing countries.
In addition, the threat of COVID-19 is a new global crisis facing the world. Compared to the Indian pandemic, Bangladesh has been relatively successful in responding, but no country can fight such a global crisis single handedly. A new crisis requires new ideas.
Bangladesh, which celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence this year, will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Japan next year. We, the people of Bangladesh, are deeply grateful to Japan for her continued economic cooperation and also for walking together in our long journey onward. We will continue to fight together against various global risks.
“International Development Journal”, July edition, 2021


Message for Japan





IDJ-ENGLISH Human Rights Need More Consideration by Japanese Companies



Human Rights Need More Consideration by Japanese Companies

-Japan’s “Public-Private Partnership” Investment is Stumbling in Myanmar
Five months have passed since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1. The military crackdown continues against civilians seeking to end violence and restore democratization, and there is no sign of improvement. On the other hand, some Japanese investment projects have been severely criticized for “benefitting the national army”. IDJ reports on the problems of Japanese investment in post-coup Myanmar. (Yukifumi Takeuchi)
Emphasizing practical business
Based in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, there is an international NGO that is promoting quiet signature movements among business communities. The Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) was originally established by the UK’s Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). Since February 19th, the statement by “Concerned Businesses Operating in Myanmar” has been posted on its website.
”As investors, we inhabit a ‘shared space’ with the people of Myanmar, including civil society organizations, in which we all benefit from respect for human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms – including freedom of expression and association – and the rule of law. The rule of law, respect for human rights, and the unrestricted flow of information all contribute to a stable business environment”.
“We remain committed to our employees and to the people of Myanmar. We hope to see a swift resolution of the current situation based on dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”
MCRB is asking foreign and Myanmar companies that are expanding into the country to sign the statement. They seem to be trying to avoid clashing head-on with the military, acting with a calm demeanor from the perspective of a “practical business” position, saying that “the law, democracy, and respect for human rights are essential for business.” As of early June, 233 companies have signed, according to a list posted on its website homepage. In addition to the food and beverage industries such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Carlsberg, Heinekens and KFC, well-known companies in the United States and Europe such as Unilever, H&M, and Facebook.
The Japanese companies have the names of local subsidiaries such as Denso Co., Ltd., Kubota Co., Ltd., H.I.S. Co., Ltd., and Nishimura & Asahi Myanmar Limited.
The head of MCRB is a former British diplomat who also served as ambassador to Myanmar (2002-06). She is fluent in Burmese and was a secretary at the embassy in the 1990s. MCRB mediated a dialogue between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the local residents of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.
The statement also includes Japanese, Chinese, and Korean translations, and also asks Japanese, Chinese, and Korean companies to sign it. It might be Ms Bowman’s idea who is familiar with Japanese diplomacy and trends among Japanese companies.
However, an executive of a certain Japanese company is reluctant to respond to the MCRB movement. He cares about his company being glared at by the Myanmar military if his company signs it.
However, as enshrined in “the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, companies need to take steps to prevent human rights-related risks. It means that in Myanmar, business should not be involved with the military, which is clearly committing criminal acts that are serious human rights violations.
The eyes of the international community increasingly harsh against the military
After the coup, the investment risks held by Japanese companies became clear. A large complex building under construction near the Shwedagon Pagoda, a famous ancient temple in Yangon. It is “Y Complex”, already reported in the Myanmar Special Feature Stories of this magazine, IDJ, in May edition.
A major real estate development company, Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., a general construction company, Fujita Co., Ltd., and Japanese government-based Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) invested a total of approximately 36 billion yen. After completion, Japanese Hotel Okura, apartments and commercial facilities are supposed to move in. According to Justice for Myanmar, a local NGO, the land is where the military museum was previously located and owned by the military, and more than 200 million yen a year in rent for that real estate is paid to the Ministry of Defense under the Military.
The question that came to mind when I heard this, was whether there were any objections to this public-private partnership project in the process of making investment decisions, including from government agencies. In particular, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. decided to co-financing a total of 16 billion yen in December, 2018.
The Rohingya refugee problem had already been highly controversial before this. Myanmar’s strong military was severely criticized by the international community, and the NLD government at the time was shaken. However, was no risk pointed out during the process of investment decision? Why was this business given the go-ahead?
The IDJ team of journalists requested explanations from the companies involved and received certain responses regarding this project; Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., JOIN, JBIC, Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc.
IDJ received responses from most of these companies. As the central position of this project, here we introduce written answers from Tokyo Tatemono and JOIN.
The details of the business decision could not be disclosed as “business confidentiality.” But “the local operating company has rented the site from a Myanmar joint venture company. The company has borrowed the land from the Ministry of Defense, an agency of the Myanmar government. But we recognize that the ultimate beneficiary is the Government of Myanmar, not the Ministry of Defense.” They also stressed that they strictly complied with laws and regulations, saying, “We also conducted studies about the country’s related laws and regulations, related permits, etc., concerning this project, as well as the U.S. Burmese Economic Sanctions Regulations concerning business partners and confirmation of various regulations under the Foreign Asset Management Act.”
There seems to be a point in the view that “the ultimate beneficiary is not the Ministry of Defense, but the government”. However, in Myanmar, the national defense budget is not obligated to disclose information under the constitutional provisions. The whereabouts of the funds paid is unclear.
“Japanese companies only emphasize the legal risks and are willing to do so if there are no legal issues. But they don’t think highly of stakeholder risks (such as business partners) ,” Bowman said.

During the former military rule of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in the 1990’s , I often saw Japanese expatriates playing golf with senior military officials at the military golf club in Yangon and building connections. Including other Asian countries, it was a show of the skill of the corporate warrior to deeply engage with the regime of the development dictatorship.
Now, however, the times have changed dramatically. The international community’s eyes are on the military rule and are becoming increasingly critical. Business with the military, which tramples on Myanmar’s hard-fought democracy and continues to crack down on human rights, will not work.
“International Development Journal”, July edition, 2021



ミャンマー つまずいた日本の“官民連携”投資


IDJ-ENGLISH-Key to the Sustainable Development of the Indo-Pacific


Editorial Report Point of View

Commencement of “The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science”
Key to the Sustainable Development of the Indo-Pacific


Dr. Atsushi Sunami,President, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation

“The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development ”, which was declared at the UN General Assembly in 2017, started this year. Until 2030, the development of observation networks and the promotion of scientific research necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be promoted under the leadership of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). How will Japan’s science and technology diplomacy develop? Dr. Atsushi Sunami, Editorial Board Member of the International Development Journal, shares his views.

Expectations toward Japan’s Leadership

The UN Decade of Ocean Science was proposed by the UNESCO-IOC to the UN General Assembly based on the recognition that it is essential to focus on research in oceans that still have many unknowns left behind in the realization of SDG14 (oceans) and SDG13 (response to climate change). In order to advance observation and research, the viewpoint of ocean policy, which includes knowledge about social science, is also indispensable in terms of social implementation that connects results to the SDGs.
In addition, issues related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as discussions on marine genetic resources and marine reserve areas at the UN Intergovernmental Conference on the preservation and sustainable use of the Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), and even the issue of marine plastic litter, require the enhancement of solid scientific knowledge based on natural scientific research. At the same time, in the development of concrete measures, on top of research on maritime policy, solutions from the perspective of science, technology and innovation (STI) are also necessary.
In Japan, a maritime based and science- and technology-oriented country, the promotion of such ocean science is an important issue that is the foundation of maritime policy, and is directly linked to the development of Japan’s science and technology diplomacy. In particular, in February, 2021, a National Committee was established to promote our contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science, as Japan is expected to demonstrate its leadership in science and technology diplomacy. This committee, co-chaired by Shigeki Sakamoto, a Chairman of the Japan Society of Ocean Policy, and I, are expected to substantially take on the role of science and technology diplomacy centered around ocean science in cooperation with similar committees in other countries.
U.S. also plays a more active role in science and technology diplomacy
As mentioned above, Japan is currently required to maintain its presence in the international community by using science and technology diplomacy as an important tool for diplomacy, to help solve global issues, work with allies, and in responding to the security environment. By the same token, active development of such science and technology diplomacy is also being seen in other advanced countries.
In particular, the US Biden Administration has been actively engaged in diplomacy, with former Secretary of State, John Kerry, as its special envoy, making global warming countermeasures one of its top issues, and the US has also actively cooperated with China, which is competing for hegemony. Jane Lubchenco, a former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was appointed head of climate change action at the Office of Science, Technology and Policy (OSTP), the Biden administration’s science and technology control tower, is a prominent ocean scientist. This also shows how important ocean science is to the Biden Administration.
Furthermore, in the future, competition will emerge between each country as they compete for leadership toward the target of “zero emissions”. Under such circumstances, the STI for SDGs, which Japan has led at the UN, with the aim of contributing to global issues, will be more necessary than ever, especially the promotion and utilization of ocean science.
The use of technology in marine waste and Arctic policy
The promotion and utilization of ocean science is particularly expected for solutions to the problem of marine plastic waste. “The Marine Plastic Litter Countermeasures Action Plan” formulated by the Japanese government ahead of the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” at the G20 Osaka Summit in June, 2019, also provided a description of science and technology.
In order to realize a “world that does not create new pollution,” the contribution from science and technology has been shown, including recognition of the actual situation, enhancing scientific knowledge, developing materials that have less impact even if they flow into theoceans, and promoting innovation. In addition, the Action Plan mentions the contribution to the effective prevention of the outflow of marine plastic waste in developing countries and other countries. It also aims to link science and technology initiatives to the development of science and technology diplomacy.
Expectations are also high for Arctic policy. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has been promoting “The Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project (ArCS)“ since 2015, and “ArCSⅡ” since 2020, with plans to hold the third Arctic Science Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo in 2021. Through this meeting, Japan’s leadership in solving policy issues in the Arctic Ocean from the scientific and technological side is anticipated. In addition, contributions to the “Zero Greenhouse Gas Emission nets by 2050”, which Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, expressed in October, 2020, is also expected to propose mitigation measures from the perspective of ocean science such as blue carbon.
Expanding collaboration with the U.S., Australia and India
Ocean science as a form of science and technology diplomacy also plays an important role in the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP). It is significant to collaborate in the field of ocean science in the Quad cooperation between Japan, the U.S., Australia and India. Japan, the U.S. and Australia have already cooperated in the field of observation, and it is important to further expand the quality and scale of this research in the future, as well as to advance cooperation with India.
In the stable development of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, understanding the ocean situation using satellites as a collaboration between marine science and space technology will contribute not only to security, but also to disaster prevention and the eradication of “illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries”. Similarly, cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), particularly in the maritime field, including the promotion of a blue economy with Indonesia, will have a significant impact.
On the other hand, cooperation with Pacific island nations, which have a significant influence in international public opinion on the oceans, is an important diplomatic issue for Japan. Palau, for example, will host an international conference called “Our Ocean” created by U.S. Envoy John Kerry during his time as a Secretary of State, this year for the first time in the island nation. With this background, cooperation in the field of ocean science is expected to have a significant impact at the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) to be held this year.
In combating climate change, it is important for Japan to actively promote dialogue with China in promoting ocean science, as the U.S. and China have agreed to cooperate with each other. There is already a bilateral agreement on marine plastic waste between Japan and China. I think it significant that ocean science will lead Japan-China science and technology cooperation, on the foundation of *Sino-Japanese cooperation that has been built up so far.
The Basic Act on Ocean Policy, enacted in 2007 as a response to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, states in Article 4 (Enhancement of Scientific Knowledge on the Oceans) that “in view of the many fields in which the oceans are not scientifically understood, scientific knowledge on the oceans must be enhanced.”
In response to new international issues, such as the marine plastic waste and the Arctic environment, Japan’s science and technology leadership is expected. It is possible to lead the international community while maintaining Japan’s international position in science and technology in the marine field. Japan, a maritime nation and science and technology nation, will play a leading role in the success of “the UN Decade of Ocean Science”, which will also greatly contribute to the further development of science and technology diplomacy, an important pillar of Japanese diplomacy.
“International Development Journal”, June edition, 2021


視点 国際開発ジャーナル 論説委員


論説委員 角南 篤 (公財)笹川平和財団 理事長


さらには今後、「ゼロエミッション」をターゲットに各国が指導権争いにしのぎを削る姿が視野に入る。そうした中で、我が国が国連でもリードしてきたSTIによる地球規模課題への貢献を目指すSTI for SDGs、とりわけ海洋科学の推進と利活用はこれまで以上に求められるようになるだろう。
他方、海洋に関する国際世論で大きな影響力を持つ太平洋島嶼(しょ)国との協働は、我が国の重要な外交課題である。例えばパラオは、米国のケリー特使が国務長官時代に作った「Our Ocean」という国際会議を、今年、島嶼国では初めてホストする。こうした背景からも、今年開催される第9回太平洋・島サミット(PALM9)では海洋科学分野での協力には大きな意味を持つと考えられる。



IDJ ENGLISH -Keidanren’s Request to the Government


Keidanren’s Request to the Government Promotion of strategic infrastructure exports

Editor-in-chief, International Development Journal Mitsuya Araki

$71 trillion global market of infrastructure investment
In March, the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) published a proposal to the Japanese government titled “Toward the Overseas Promotion of Strategic Infrastructure Systems (the 2020 edition).”
The main contents are;
(Ⅰ)promotion of overseas expansion of infrastructure systems based on environmental changes,
(Ⅱ) specific requests for overseas promotion of strategic infrastructure systems, and
(Ⅲ) priority areas in the with post-COVID-19 era
According to the report, the global infrastructure market is based on the assumption that it will expand further into the future. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that infrastructure investment in 2000-30 will total $71 trillion. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that Asia’s infrastructure needs from 2016 to 2030 will be $22.6 trillion (more than $1.5 trillion annually).
That would amount to $26 trillion (more than $1.7 trillion annually) if the amount needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change is included. The proposal states that Japan needs to strategically take in such a global infrastructure market in the future.
Regarding the environmental changes of infrastructure systems, it is pointed out as follows.
(1) The spread of COVID-19 worldwide has caused delays and interruptions in business.
(2) With the spread of COVID-19 infection, digital transformation (DX) is particularly important, and it is necessary to accelerate the DX efforts of infrastructure systems.
(3) As the sense of crisis over climate change increases worldwide, efforts to decarbonize are required to be strengthened. Japan is required to expand its green infrastructure system overseas by utilizing its unique and excellent environmental technology.
(4) With the Biden administration in the United States, which emphasizes international cooperation, restructuring of the international economic order is expected. With the aim of realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP)”, Japan needs to deepen inter-regional cooperative relationships through economic partnerships and pursue smooth movement and connectivity of global labor, goods, money and data.
4 requests to the government  
In December 2020, the government compiled a new strategy, ”the Infrastructure Systems Overseas Expansion Strategy 2025”, which looks ahead to the five years after 2021.It set an order target of 34 trillion yen for 2025, with (1) realizing economic growth by improving industrial competitiveness in response to carbon neutrality and digital transformation, (2) contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, and (3) promoting higher quality infrastructure overseas.
The government has so far bolstered the top sales by Prime Minister and bureaucrats and won overseas infrastructure projects.Furthermore, we have promoted the establishment of high-spec loans, yen loans, and the use of “Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP)”, expanded trade insurance such as the creation of a trade insurance scheme for institutional investors, and supported the overseas expansion of Japanese companies by developing rules for “higher quality infrastructure” and working on international standardization. Keidanren highly appreciates the government’s efforts.
Keidanren’s specific requests are as follows.
Firstly, responding to the challenges facing the world. (1) Strengthening measures against and supporting the infection of the new coronavirus, (2) promoting DX in infrastructure systems, (3) strengthening initiatives to develop green infrastructure, and (4) realizing FOIP.
Second, strengthening of the promotion system for winning projects. (1)Strengthening the control tower function and expanding budget measures, (2) further strengthening top sales, and (3) cooperation in third-country markets.
Thirdly, promotion of public measures through public-private partnerships. (1) Priority support for Operation & Maintenance (O&M). It is important to target not only advanced O&M using digital technology, but also O&M that meets the actual situation of host countries such as Africa. (2) strategic development of international standardization and international rule development, and (3) accelerating CORE JAPAN projects that co-create value in collaboration with local companies led by Japanese companies through public-private partnerships, (4) Strengthening support for promoting PPP, (5) strategically promoting human resource invitations, and (6) further promoting safety measures.
Fourthly, strengthening financial support, etc. (1) ODA (yen loan, grant aid, technical cooperation), (2) JICA overseas investment and loans, (3) JBIC investment and loans, (4) Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), (5) other independent administrative institutions, etc.
As for (5), in order to reduce the risk of overseas infrastructure projects and businesses and to further promote private investment, it is considered effective to expand investment by funds that utilize public funds. Indonesia, for example, plans to build a government infrastructure fund worth up to $15 billion.
Areas of Focus in the Corona Era
Finally, priority areas in the with / post COVID-19 era include (1) green infrastructure (environmental and energy infrastructure that contributes to decarbonization), (2) development of digital infrastructure, (3) promotion of smart cities, (4) health and medical infrastructure, and (5) infrastructure for living and social activity.
If there are private opinions to add these points, firstly, it is the role of the general trading company in Japan. Secondly, the role of the development consultant of the ODA system with excellent ability in the development plan making.
First of all, is it necessary to reconsider the role of a general trading company that can be involved in the information and trends of the development plan at the front line of developing countries. It might be said that it is not such a time now, but why not reconsider the role of general trading companies again?
Next, ODA-based development consulting companies’ ability can be deeply involved from the infrastructure planning stage. If ODA is to be used strategically, it will take some time, but it will need to be pushed forward from the comprehensive development planning stage. There is an opinion that the comprehensive development plan is not effective in terms of time and expense, but I think that it is effective as an approach to get involved in the other party’s and gain trust.
It is not easy to quickly get infrastructure projects without taking some time to gain trust of other parties. In other words, logical, technical, and human trust are the key to the overseas promotion of strategic infrastructure systems.
For many developing countries, the people in charge of development planning are super-elite bureaucrats with clear and theoretical brains who have studied at top universities in Europe and the US.However, they are administrative men who do not know the practice. Therefore, it is required that the cooperating partners have human resources who can talk about practice and theory in an orderly manner. However, there is still great concern about whether such human resources will be secured on the Japanese side. In that sense, Japan’s way for the future cannot be too optimistic.


羅針盤 経団連の政府への要望 戦略的インフラ輸出の促進
本誌主幹  荒木 光弥
第3、官民連携を通じた公的施策の推進。(1)O&Mへの重点支援(デジタル技術を活用した高度なO&Mのみならず、アフリカなどのホスト国の実情に合ったO&Mも対象にすることが重要としている)、(2)国際標準化や国際ルール整備の戦略的展開、(3)日本企業主導で現地企業と連携しながら価値を共創するCORE JAPANプロジェクトを官民連携で加速させる、(4)PPP促進に向けた支援強化、(5)人材招聘の戦略的推進、(6)安全対策の一層の推進。

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