Tokyo International Conference on African Development

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Japan External Trade Organization said Friday they will work closely to support the needs of developing countries by promoting trade and investment between Japan and these countries in line with the concept of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by Li Yong, director general of UNIDO, and Hiroyuki Ishige, chairman and chief executive officer of JETRO, while attending the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African development taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.

The partnership will allow UNIDO and JETRO to develop joint cooperation projects and activities aimed at enhancing sustainable industrialization in developing countries and the economies in transition through promoting trade and investment.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development runs Saturday and Sunday at Kenyatta International Convention Centre. It’s the first time the conference is being held in Africa instead of Japan since its inception in 1993. The conference features the Japan-Africa Business forum, which unites industrialists, business executives and heads of business associations from Africa and Japan, as well as seminars and exhibitions.

Established in 1958 as an entity that would promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO’s focus is on encouraging foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small and medium-sized Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

JETRO is organized and managed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which focuses on economic and industrial development through innovation, technology and foreign investment. JETRO has 73 offices overseas and 46 offices in Japan, including the Tokyo and Osaka headquarters.

The U.S. market accounts for about 80 percent of exports for Japanese firms, according to a 2015 white paper on economic conditions. A survey conduced for the paper showed 80.5 percent of respondents indicated they are interested in developing business with companies in Latin America, with Mexico and Brazil attracting the most interest.

UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.