On November 9, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced an initiative to invest in fisheries facilities in Côte d’Ivoire. Japan is pledging 2.659 billion yen (over $20M USD) in a grant to bolster the fishing industry in the coastal nation. Known as the Project for Construction of Landing Facilities and the Central Market for the Development of the Commercial Area of the Town of Sassandra, the project money will be put towards relocating and rebuilding the Central Market of the town. Relocating the Central Market will hopefully contribute to the improved flow of goods into Sassandra, as transporting goods into the area is currently somewhat difficult. The project also aims to build an unloading site and add to the existing fishing facilities in Sassandra, one of the fishing industry centers in Côte d’Ivoire.
Through this project, Côte d’Ivoire hopes to boost domestic marine food production for the nation, especially in the area of micro fishing. Micro fishing accounts for 85 percent of the marine products for Côte d’Ivoire. Currently, the country has to rely on foreign imports to get its seafood. Fish is an important staple in the diet for the people of Côte d’Ivoire. The government is also hoping this project will boost their economy and provide more jobs in the fishing industry. At this time, the fishing industry in the nation directly employs 70,000 people and indirectly 400,000 more.
JICA is hoping to promote industry in Côte d’Ivoire by providing technology and fishing advisers to the African nation.This isn’t the first time Japan has invested in African resources and infrastructure; Japan has also invested in projects in other coastal African nations, and has also helped in countering piracy. Japan has additionally assisted with financing the building of highways in Western Africa. Many in Japan feel the hope for their nation lies with building economic ties to Africa.