About the forum
What is the Japan-Africa Business Forum (JABF)?
The Japan-Africa Business Forum (JABF), which will be held for the third time in 2021, is organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Asia External Representation Office in coordination with the African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) in Tokyo. The forum brings together government officials and business leaders from Africa and Japan to discuss investment and business opportunities on the continent and provides an opportunity for participants to find potential business partners.
The First Japan-Africa Business Forum (JABF 2014)was held in July 2014, one year after the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V). The forum was organized under the theme of “Succeeding In Africa: Unlocking Growth & Opportunities” with the aim of helping to further enhance business partnerships between Japan and Africa. More than 1,000 people participated in the forum, including about 100 people from both the public and private sectors from Africa.
The Second Japan-Africa Business Forum (JABF 2017)was held in July 2017, one year after the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Kenya. Under the theme of “Investment and Business Opportunities with Africa”, the forum discussed economic developments in Africa through business promotion and other actions and provided opportunities for sharing knowledge and networking. A total of about 1,500 participants attended the forum, including about 400 people in Japan and overseas who tuned in to the live stream.
The Third Japan-Africa Business Forum (JABF 2021) will be held in 2021 ahead of the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) slated for 2022 in Tunisia. Under the theme of “Shaping a New Africa in the Era of COVID-19”, JABF 2021 will be held for related stakeholders to capitalize on good outcomes of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) and bridge them to TICAD 8 by maintaining the growing momentum and attention among the Japanese business community in enhancing business participation in Africa on the occasion of TICAD 7 and further raising motivation for business between Japan and Africa. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, JABF will be held in a hybrid format for the very first time.
The Third Japan-Africa Business Forum will be organized by the African Development Bank Asia External Representation Office (SNAR) in coordination with African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) in Tokyo.
African Development Bank Asia External Representation Office (SNAR)
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) opened its first Asia External Representation Office (SNAR) outside of Africa in Tokyo in October 2012. The mission of SNAR is to help promote AfDB’s Ten-Year Strategy (TYS) and its five priority areas (“High 5s”) by strengthening relationships and promoting dialogue with partners in the public and private sectors in the Asian region, taking innovative approaches to promote investment and business in Africa, and disseminating information on the investment and business environment on the African continent. Four countries in the Asia-Pacific Region—China, India, Japan and Korea—are member countries of the AfDB Group, and SNAR is conducting a variety of activities to strengthen the cooperative relationship with these countries. Additionally, SNAR works together with different public entities and international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region to offer a variety of seminars and events to share the lessons learned from the Asian experience in development with African countries and apply them to future development.
African Development Bank Group website (English)
African Development Bank Asia External Representation Office website (Japanese)
“High 5s”, the African Development Bank’s five development priorities
—Relationship to the African Union’s “Agenda 2063” and the United Nation’s “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”—
In his inaugural address as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in September 2015, Akinwumi Adesina set out a new agenda building on the AfDB Group’s current ten-year strategy and prioritizing five areas for development: (1) Light up and Power Africa, (2) Feed Africa, (3) Industrialize Africa, (4) Integrate Africa, and (5) Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa, known as the “High 5s”. These focus areas are essential in that they will transform the lives of the people of Africa, which in turn will lead to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations.
In 2013, AfDB adopted a Ten-Year Strategy (TYS) for the period up to 2022. The TYS identifies twin objectives for transformation of “inclusive growth” and the “transition to green growth” with five operational priorities to achieve these goals, namely “infrastructure development”, “regional economic integration”, “private sector development”, “governance and accountability”, and “skills and technology”. The strategy also highlights three areas of special emphasis: “fragile states”, “agriculture and food security”, and “gender”. The five priority areas of the High 5s are both central to the TYS and intrinsically linked to SDGs and commitments at COP21, which were adopted after this strategy was formulated. They have also been highlighted as critical priorities in “Agenda 2063”, the development goals of the African Union.
Outline of JABF 2021
Six webinar sessions (June 29 to July 1 and July 6 to July 8)
A series of six webinar sessions will be held under the theme, “Shaping a New Africa in the Era of COVID-19,” on June 29, 30 and July 1, 6, 7, and 8. Five out of the six sessions are dedicated to the “High 5s”, the African Development Bank’s top development priorities (Light up & Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa). Discussions will focus on the latest challenges and business opportunities to be found on the African continent. A more detailed agenda for each session can be found below
（→Agenda for Each Session)
Each webinar consists of two parts: a panel discussion and an African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) session. In the first half, the panel discussion, panelists from the public and private sectors in Japan and Africa, international organizations, and academia will engage in discussions on each of these areas with moderators familiar with the African economy, development agendas, and business promotion between Japan and Africa. The second half of the session will open with an overview of the business situation on the African continent in relation to each day’s theme and an introduction by ambassadors from African countries to Japan on the latest information and business opportunities in their countries.
An additional session organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will focus on the start-up sector in Africa, which has been attracting a great deal of attention from the business community in Europe, the U.S., Japan and other parts of Asia in recent years and showcase the activities of five companies with innovative business models in the north, south, east, west and central regions of the continent. Following an introduction to each company’s business activities, a panel discussion with a commentator and a moderator who are familiar with the start-up ecosystem in Africa that will delve into leads for investment and collaboration, and promote partnerships with Japanese companies.
3-week Online Business Matching (June 29 to July 16)
Over a period of three weeks, Business Matching opportunities will be offered to Japanese and African companies through an online platform that will allow them to directly conduct business meetings and networking to find potential business partners.
【Agenda for Each Session】
Session 1: Light up & Power Africa
Green Energy: Enabling Africa to Achieve Zero Emissions
Session 1 discusses business opportunities and challenges in expanding green energy in national power systems, including off-grid electrification solutions, Japanese technology and experience in green energy, and necessary interventions by the public sector to uphold initiatives by the private sector to achieve net zero emissions.
Session 2: Feed Africa
Food Value Chains: Towards Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems
Session 2 aims to deepen understanding of development challenges in Africa’s food systems, identify superior technologies/know-hows of the private sector in Japan as well as business opportunities between Japan and the continent, and discuss how to ultimately contribute to “Feed Africa.”
Session 3: Industrialize Africa
Leapfrogging Africa: Accelerate Innovation, Upgrade Competitiveness, and Reignite Growth
Session 3 discusses the challenges and chances in the era of COVID-19 concerning structural transformation through promoting digitalization, industrialization, and diversification. The discussion may cover the utilization of cutting-edge technologies, deployment of transforming policies, and identification of specific business opportunities.
Session 4: Start-up Session
Africa Innovates: Embracing the Power of Start-ups
Session 4 explores leads for successful partnerships with African start-ups. Africa’s stable economic growth and growing population have made the continent a massive and attractive market for investors from all over the world, with the number of venture capital investments (of USD 200,000 and up) in African start-ups (in the technology and digital sectors) at 359 in 2020, up 44% from the previous year, even with the spread of COVID-19 . This session will introduce the business cases of start-up companies that are using innovative technologies and models to solve social challenges in Africa and that are expected to grow significantly, and will discuss the potential for investment, collaboration and cooperation with Japanese companies.
Session 5: Integrate Africa
AfCFTA: Unlocking Africa’s Potential as a Single Market and the World’s Final Destination
Session 5 discusses how the AfCFTA can actually be utilized as the main vehicle to deepen regional integration through various measures. Furthermore, this session explores the role of the private sector in trade finance and formulating policies.
Session 6: Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa
Quality Healthcare Infrastructure: Building Back Better
Session 6 aims to deepen understanding of development challenges in improving the quality of life for the people of Africa, identify superior technologies/know-hows of the private sector in Japan, as well as business opportunities between Japan and the continent, and discuss how to contribute to “Improving the Quality of Life for the People of Africa”.
Click here for an outline of the “High 5s”, the five top priority areas of the African Development Bank