Japanese companies have been working intensively and innovatively throughout 2021 to transfer technologies to 12 countries in Africa and Asia to help limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working remotely with local counterparts and partners at project sites, company representatives have taken all possible measures to implement their projects on time and with quality impact, despite facing restrictions and shipment delays due to COVID-19.
The initiatives are part of the Sustainable Technology Promotion Platform (STePP), funded by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and coordinated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).One example is the Kinsei Sangyo company which was forced to come up with a creative solution when Japanese engineers were unable to travel to Kenya to install a medical waste incinerator due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the country. Instead of waiting for the travel restrictions to ease, Kinsei decided to use various online technologies to provide instructions to Kenyan engineers situated over 11,000km away from Japan.
Explaining how they managed the installation of the waste incinerator at Nairobi’s Mutuini Hosiptal, Kinsei’s Kimikazu Yano said, “In addition to two cameras, we used six different online applications simultaneously to provide instructions to engineers at the site. It was challenging initially that all instructions needed to be provided verbally. However, with the cooperation of a local coordinator at the site, we succeeded in commissioning the equipment as scheduled.”
Another example is the Marusyo Sangyo company, which following successful trials in India, is demonstrating its infectious disease prevention system, Invironshield M5, in Kenya, Nepal and Mongolia. Invironshield is a photocatalytic coating fluid that can be applied to ceiling, walls, furniture and other equipment to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Due to limitations on access to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marusyo Sangyo created a video in local languages in order to train technicians to practice the coating technique off-site.
The company’s Takayuki Yoshikawa explained, “This step-by-step training video helped technicians to visualize the entire application procedure. During the training, technicians could stop and rewind the video as needed. More importantly, technicians could practice the coating many times, and we helped them by providing instructions through online meeting apps.”
It is no doubt that online tools played an essential role in making distance training and commissioning possible. However, the Japanese companies’ efforts and enthusiasm for problem-solving should not be overlooked.
“We tested every technology available in Kenya to ensure that network problems would not stop the implementation of the project. Taking into account a six-hour time difference, working with the country was not easy, but we are pleased to hear that our equipment is helping the medical workers in Mutuini Hospital now,” said Kinsei’s Yano.
Both Kinsei Sangyo and Marusyo Sangyo mentioned that while implementing the project entirely online was a desperate measure that was necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the experience has given them new options for project implementation. Yet, both representatives of both companies say there is nothing better than meeting in person.
ITPO Tokyo operates STePP to share information about Japanese technologies, focusing on health and hygiene-related technology and technologies to protect the environment and benefit energy and agribusiness. The aim is to contribute to the inclusive and sustainable industrialization of developing and emerging countries. Currently, 103 companies participate in STePP with 120 technologies, from which 13 technology providers were originally selected by UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Tokyo (ITPO Tokyo).
For more information on thw work of UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Tokyo (ITPO Tokyo) , please read:
- UNIDO and Japan to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Japanese technology to fight COVID-19 in Africa and Asia
- Japanese technologies help Africa and Asia fight COVID-19
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