Tokyo – Japan is the only country to which Egypt has requested aid for future planning
“Japanese people have certain cultural sensitivities, and they do not really push in whatever they believe in as clearly as some others do.” Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in Tokyo on July 6.
JICA aid to Arab Spring aftermath is no “Santa Claus” aid, JICA president said.
“We do not just give money around”. “Development assistance is a much more complicated process of discussing with the recipient government over what they consider as various plans, whether it is technical assistance”
Last year, JICA has been providing 2.46 billion Japanese Yen technical assistance to Egypt and Tunisia. Sadako Ogata said the science and technology education in Tunisia and Egypt improved a lot in the past two years, yet the so called Arab Spring was foreseeable, as job opportunities were lacking in these regions.
Pushing economic growth, education and creating job opportunities was a difficult task: “JICA has been experiencing difficulties in educating youth in science and technology and at the same time meeting the industrial needs. The benefits of growth have not been reaching the right kind of people: the majority of youth, and they were not able to voice their fairness frustration”, Ogata said at a press conference in Tokyo.
“Science and technology education is something that the world, especially the developing world expects a lot from Japan, and JICA has been at the forefront in doing this kind of education in the parts of the world where technical aid is wanted.”
“We are trying to make sure that JICA development assistance in whatever place will keep the balance between development and inclusiveness to the beneficiary, and especially high education has to be kept very much in mind.”
Election expertise request to Japan
Egypt has requested “very future oriented” assistance from Japan: “First, Egypt has already requested an election support to Japan for the election of the People’s Assembly in September.” JICA has sent Japanese election experts to the High Election Committee of Egypt. The group has already started working, has already organized a series of lectures, and also the planning of how to prepare the coming election.
To Tunisia, JICA has sent an election system specialist to able to help Egypt to prepare for the election of National Constituent Assembly in October.
Egypt is starting the planning of the new five years plan (2012 to 2016), and JICA has already responded to their request by sending several experts.
“Japan is the only country to which Egypt made these requests for future planning, such as organization structure and election process”.
“The Japanese social and economic capacity building is really helping the Ministry’s planning and International Cooperation of Egypt, and our experts are the ones who are going along in whatever they think is the necessary conditions to develop”. Ogata also said that Japan has not being that interfering in the development assistance: “Japan has a certain cultural sensitivities, and most of Japanese people do not really push in whatever they think or believe in as clearly as some others do”. Ogata says there has been a lot of progress in democracy building in these Arab countries, but that their people were not given the freedom to chose their leaders.
Ogata says she was rather surprised that the Planning Ministry has made those requests to Japan. “And Japan is the only country to which it went to ask for these experts for planning the economic and social structures and institutions as well as the election observers”. Professor Shirato, from Tokai University, very well known for being a specialist in election process planning, has gone to Tunisia too. Over history, Japan has sent these election planning specialists to South-East Asian countries when they were going through elections, however these requests from Egypt coming so soon after all these difficulties have rose was a surprise to JICA’s president: “Japan has never been dominating any of these Arab countries in a way, so we have been a helpful partner but we never dominated.”
Nathalie and Kyoko