Between February 23 and 27, 2019, I visited Cameroon. SKY project has conducted skills assessments of garment sector workers in three African countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, and South Africa – in recent years. During this period, we have received inquiries from representatives of other African countries who expressed interest in having our assessment conducted for their workers in garment and/or other industries. Up to now, we have focused on three countries so that our assessment module will be validated and ready for wider application. As the first phase of the project is approaching completion, in 2019, while giving policy advice and academic presentations based on the data from Ethiopia, Ghana, and South Africa, we will start to consider the application of the SKY assessment module to other countries and other industries. To begin, we decided to visit countries and institutions with whom we had some exchanges but have not yet proceeded to discuss actual collaboration.
In Cameroon, I was hosted by members of the IC-Net Corporation, which implemented the “Project on Integrated SME Promotion with the Enhancement of KAIZEN” funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition to visiting some small and micro enterprises that have engaged in productivity improvement activities under the KAIZEN project, I attended the Joint Coordination Committee held at the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises. I was also able to have productive discussions with staff of the Central Africa Regional Offices of UNESCO and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa regarding future collaboration. In closing, I would like to thank staff members of the Japanese Embassy and JICA Office, including Ambassador Osawa and JICA representative Ms. Masuda.