ABE initiative training interns

August 1 to 3, 2016 | YMC

For the period of August 1 through 3, 2016, students in master's programs at Japanese universities who came to Japan last September as trainees in the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative) became short-term interns at YMC.

The ABE Initiative was announced at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), held in 2013, as a policy for supporting economic growth in Africa through public-private partnerships. In addition to education for African youth at Japanese universities and graduate schools, the program also offers internships at Japanese companies.

YMC accepted a total of five trainees from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Swaziland, Cote d'Ivoire, and Nigeria, and conducted a workshop in which the interns worked with OMDO staff members to develop business plans for selling the Yamaha Clean Water System compact water purifier for small villages in the interns' own countries. The rest of the time was spent on plant tours and hands-on experience with products.

The interns expressed a desire to resolve water-related issues in their countries by using the Clean Water System, suggested specific prospective customers and related organizations, and engaged in a lively exchange of views regarding efforts needed for expanding sales and how to demonstrate the appeal of the Yamaha brand in Africa. For OMDO members, this proved to be a valuable information-exchange opportunity with regard to future business growth.

The trainees continually voiced surprise at Yamaha's wide-ranging business operations and the company's exacting production processes and on-site operations, and seemed to have enjoyed a meaningful first-hand experience with a Japanese corporation.

Tomoko Kakehi, Overseas Market Development Operation Business Unit