In the second half of 2014, the Japan International Cooperation Agency signed off on 223.18 billion yen ($1.87 billion) worth of energy projects, boosting its cooperation in the sector.
In line with its “win-win” aid policy, Japan will help support the growth of emerging economies by advancing efficient energy use and uptake of renewable energy sources. Japan considers insufficient and unreliable energy supply as a serious obstacle to private investment, effectively hampering economic growth.
The heavy focus on energy conservation and diversification of energy sources stems from Japan’s experience of successfully weathering the 1970s oil crises, which it navigated by adopting an energy policy rooted in conservation and efficiency. JICA’s largest energy initiative for the period is the $348.48 million Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project in Bangladesh. The project aims to meet the country’s growing energy demand by constructing a coal-fired power plant utilizing Japan’s ultrasuper-critical technology, which ensures efficient power generation.
Apart from leveraging Japanese energy-efficient technologies, however, JICA supports energy conservation efforts of small and medium enterprises in India. Already on its third phase, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Energy Saving Project provides medium to long-term funding to Indian MSMEs to build energy-efficient facilities.
Further, and drawing from its extensive expertise in renewable energy sources, Japan helps developing countries ramp up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Aligned with national priorities, JICA slated $602.58 million to advance geothermal power development in Uzbekistan. The Turakurgan Thermal Power Station Construction Project aims to develop the country’s vast natural gas resources while reducing the environmental burden.
Reaffirming Japan’s strong commitment to Myanmar’s development, JICA approved $529.93 million for its water, transport and agriculture projects in the country. The Greater Yangon Water Supply Improvement Project will improve the quality of water supply services in the Yangon metropolitan area. JICA will help modernize Myanmar’s transport infrastructure by renovating the Yangon-Mandalay railway and improving the access road between Yangon and the Thilawa area. To enhance agricultural production, JICA will upgrade irrigation facilities in the country’s Western Bago region.
A priority country of Japanese development engagement in Southeast Asia, Myanmar has received the lion’s share of Japan’s grant giving in the first half of this year.
Despite a tight fiscal environment, JICA’s development budget reached $11.4 billion this year, due largely to the agency’s $1.59 billion contribution to the latest replenishment period of the World Bank’s International Development Assistance.
Condensed and republished with permission from The International Development Journal, a leading monthly journal in Japanese focusing on international development.