VIENNA, 16 May 2013 –The Government of Japan intends to double its funding of projects implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in developing countries, with a special focus on Africa.
During a ceremony in Vienna today, attended by the Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa and the Director General of UNIDO, Kandeh K. Yumkella, Japan made a new contribution of USD 5.5 million (JPY 554,907,000) towards the execution of a new programme which aims to catalyze green growth pathways through the adoption and dissemination of advanced low- carbon and clean energy technologies in close cooperation with the Government of Japan. This brings Japan’s overall voluntary contribution to UNIDO in 2013 to more than USD 11 million.
The initiative will provide new opportunities for introducing innovative financing mechanisms such as the Government of Japan’s Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism (Joint Crediting Mechanism), which aims to facilitate the diffusion of low-carbon technologies globally through the introduction of leading edge clean energy technologies and products in developing countries and a proper evaluation of emissions reductions resulting from those technologies and products.
“I would like to thank the Government of Japan and our direct partner, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, for this generous offer. This is indeed another clear indication of Japan’s strong and continued support for the Organization,” said Yumkella.
He also mentioned that many developing countries, especially in Africa, experience difficulties in attracting investment partners and in accessing innovative products and technologies to pursue sustainable industrial development and economic growth. “In many cases, the problem stems from local enterprises lacking sufficient information about international market trends, technology sources, best practices and foreign investors. On the other hand, international players are not in a hurry to invest in developing countries due to the uncertainty of the investment climate, business environment and legal framework. Countries also often face language barriers, geographical distance problems and technological gaps,” said Yumkella.
Ambassador Ozawa said that the Government of Japan hopes that this funding will contribute to achieving Green Growth in Africa. He also mentioned that Japan will be co-hosting in early June in Yokohama the TICAD V Meeting with the Heads of State and Ministers from Africa. At this meeting, the “TICAD Strategy for Low-Carbon Growth and Climate Change Resilient Development” is expected to be adopted, and Japan intends to cooperate with UNIDO in the implementation of this strategy.
Another joint UNIDO-Japan programme worth USD 350,000 (JPY 30,000,000) will be implemented to offer advisory services to potential Japanese investors and to the business community in developing countries in order to facilitate investment promotion efforts, technology transfer and other opportunities for international industrial cooperation. It will focus on Africa and will be implemented by advisors assigned to UNIDO field offices in three selected African countries. Countries currently under consideration are Algeria, Mozambique and Tanzania. The advisors will facilitate investment and technology cooperation opportunities between the recipient countries and Japan, and access to related products and services.
A separate project in India funded also by Japan and worth a total of USD 1.3million (EUR 1 million), will focus on demonstrating ultra-low-head micro hydropower technology to help increase access to renewable energy for productive uses in rural areas. This renewable energy technology is the leading commercially viable technology developed in this field. It is an innovation developed approximately four years ago and currently only available in Japan.
Once commercially demonstrated, this low-head technology will be able to harness the vast potential that huge irrigation canal systems offer to promote micro hydropower based smart mini-grids in India. Different from the conventional hydropower technologies, this hydropower system can generate electricity from low-head water flow in the small waterfalls of existing water-supply and sewage systems, power station waterways, and drainage from factories, agricultural waterways and stream channels, which have not been previously considered feasible for hydropower generation. This is an environmentally-friendly system that neither requires large-scale engineering work for its installation nor advanced technology for its maintenance, making it a very suitable way to generate electricity, especially in developing countries.
Earlier this year, the Government of Japan, began funding a USD 1.5 million (JPY 137,000,000) UNIDO project in Liberia to help young people secure employment in the mining, construction and agricultural sectors. The project will help upgrade Liberia’s training infrastructure to meet the needs of modern industry. This will enable vulnerable groups, particularly young people and returnees, to take advantage of the employment opportunities being generated.
The Government of Japan is also funding two other UNIDO projects that are assisting in the socio-economic reintegration of Liberian returnees. With a total budget of USD 3 million, the projects will provide Liberians who have already returned, or intend to return to their home country, with vocational skills training, entrepreneurship training and other related services in order to enhance opportunities for finding jobs or starting up livelihoods or businesses.
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