The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the agency that coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government in developing countries, has announced the launch of a project aimed at strengthening startup ecosystems in emerging markets.
NINJA, as the project is called, is short for Next Innovation with Japan. It is a startup support project that will be developed and implemented in about 5 pilot countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia.
Project NINJA will be focused on propping up innovative startups through business competition and incubation/acceleration programs in the targeted countries, as well as business matching support and policy advocation.
“NINJA in Africa is designed to promote innovation for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa targeting at pre-seed/seed-stage entrepreneurs,” stated Keiji Katai, Head of Project NINJA.
“In collaboration with various ecosystem stakeholders including investors, corporates, academia and governments, NINJA in Africa aims to support 50 investment-ready startups by the end of 2023,” he added.
Before now, NINJA has already been operational, and JICA recently contracted with Samurai Incubate Africa and PwC Consulting LLC — a part of activities in NINJA — to conduct the research on the investment opportunity in Africa, and make business matching events in Japan and Africa.