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Delegates from the five African countries Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Zambia, all members of the Pan African Productivity Association, visited the APO Secretariat in Tokyo on 10 November and were warmly welcomed by officers and staff. The 12 delegates, who were in Japan to attend the training course on Kaizen for Quality Improvement for Management Consultants, were briefed on the overall APO role in the productivity movement in the Asia-Pacific region. Presentations on the APO’s mission and thrust areas, specific projects in the agriculture and industry sectors, and the Special Program for Africa were given by Director of the Administration and Finance Department Dr. A.K.P. Mochtan, Director of the Agriculture Department Joselito C. Bernardo, and Director of the Industry Department Setsuko Miyakawa, respectively. Most of the African delegates were alumni of the APO Basic and/or Advanced Training Course(s) for Productivity Practitioners, which have been held in South Africa since 2007. Mr. J. Wachira Kimani of Kenya spoke on behalf of the African delegation, expressing gratitude for the APO orientation and insights shared on how the productivity movement may best be promoted on the African continent.
The Secretariat visit and orientation were part of a two-week training course, 6–20 November, organized by the Japan Productivity Center (JPC) and supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI). It aims to give the African delegates an opportunity to learn about quality concepts and management systems in Japanese manufacturing companies. The 12 African productivity practitioners were slated to visit various facilities and offices and interact with key executives during the remainder of the course. The JPC, a founding member of the APO, is a regular partner in capacity-building endeavors within the region and beyond, and JPC Expert Mamoru Yoshimura accompanied the African delegates to the Secretariat.