After the global economic crisis of 2008, the Republic of South Africa saw a drop in economic growth to negative 1.7 percent, but saw a recovery to positive 2.8 percent in 2010

After the global economic crisis of 2008, the Republic of South Africa saw a drop in economic growth to negative 1.7 percent, but saw a recovery to positive 2.8 percent in 2010, when the World Cup of soccer was held there. In 2011, the economic recession in the US and Europe, both primary export destinations for the Republic of South Africa, as well as the effects of a high rand (the currency) caused the export industry to decline. JICA’s support to South Africa is primarily focused on: 1) Promotion of Human Capacity Development and Infrastructure Development, 2) Promotion of Participation of vulnerable groups in Social and Economic Activities, and 3) Promotion of Regional Development in Southern Africa.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was established in 1974 to implement the Japanese Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 2008, JICA merged with the overseas economic cooperation section of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), which enabled JICA to provide loan and grant assistance in a harmonious manner, covering areas from infrastructure to grassroots projects.

Since its establishment, JICA has become the world’s largest bilateral development agency, with its approach changing over time. It has provided various forms of technical assistance in over 150 countries globally. Furthermore, it has become more field-oriented, working more closely with partner governments, international development partners, private enterprises and, above all, communities and local people.

JICA has been implementing various projects in South Africa since 1997, three years after the country’s first democratic election. JICA aims to complement governments’ initiatives to promote sustainability through multi-sectoral technical assistance. Such assistance includes training in Japan and third countries, the dispatch of Japanese experts and volunteers for skills transfer to local counterparts, and projects comprising a mix of the above. Since inception, the JICA South Africa Office has contributed more than $250.9-million, sent more than 1 400 South African training participants to Japan, and dispatched more than 450 Japanese experts and more than 100 Japanese volunteers. Today, the number of South Africans empowered and enriched by “The Japan Experience”, exceeds 1 500.

JICA’s activities in South Africa focus on primarily human resources development (HRD). In the education sector, for example, JICA has been dispatching experts for basic as well as higher educa- tion and training. For basic education, JICA is focusing on ways to demystify mathematics and science. For higher education and training, JICA is easing the transition for graduates entering the workplace through an employability improvement project involving partnerships with universities of technology and the Japanese private sector. Needless to say, the ABE Initiative is also a big contribution to the sector. In addition to the above, various Japanese volunteers have been dispatched to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in remote areas to assist teachers with curriculum development, and learners with better understanding of content.

JICA pursues this holistic approach as it believes in the involvement of all stakeholders including the public and private sector, civil society, the academia and others. JICA regards development as “inclusive” and “dynamic”, implying that development is everyone’s responsibility, and that development is ever-changing amid shifting milieus.

In 2012 the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) started the Employability Improvement Project (EIP).  The Project plan was rolled out throughout various UoT’s in South Africa.



This Project is facilitated and coordinated by the Co-operative Education Department of VUT.

The following staff members have been appointed by JICA to be part of this Project:

Name Faculty & Department Position
Ben Moekwa Applied & Computer Sciences
Analytical Chemistry
EI Practitioner
Edwin Mabelane Engineering & Technology
Co-operative Education
EI Practitioner
Elizna Burger Human Sciences
Hospitality, Tourism, PR
EI Practitioner
Matshepo Thibundi Human Sciences
Visual Arts & Design
EI Practitioner
Josias Masete Management Sciences
Human Resources
EI Practitioner
Lena Dreyer Co-operative Education Administrator

NB: The training is COMPULSORY for all students that have WIL as a compulsory component of their qualification.

Student Training Manual