A delegation from the University of Pretoria (UP) composed of the Director of Future Africa Professor Cheikh Mbow, Dr Farai Kapfudzaruwa (International Strategic Partnerships office) and Professor Masafumi Nagao (visiting Professor at Future Africa) visited Japan from 20-24 January to initiate and deepen existing partnerships with Japanese institutions. This follows a visit to Japan in August 2019 by UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe when he participated in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development and laid the foundation for collaboration with Japanese higher education institutions through engagements with leadership of leading Japanese universities. 

The UP delegation initiated a framework for institutional collaboration with the University of Tokyo through the Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI) and UP’s Future Africa Campus. The relationship between UP and University of Tokyo is anchored on areas of mutual interest driven by sharing resources and intellectual capital for capacity building and enhancing universities’ relevance to society. 

During the week, the UP delegation also engaged with the Ministry of Education, Culture Sports, Science and Technology to strengthen the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Japan in STI (science, technology, innovation) cooperation and co-funding opportunities for research collaboration. The team also met with leadership at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies which coordinates the South Africa-Japan University (SAJU) Forum with UP; the United Nations University to utilise our convening powers on various activities involving African universities; and the JICA Research Institute to explore areas of common interests in research and capacity building of policy makers. 

On the last day of the mission, the UP team made a courtesy visit to South African Ambassador to Japan Lulama Smuts Ngonyama to inform him about the delegation’s engagements. Ambassador Ngonyama was supportive of UP’s collaboration with Japanese institutions given Future Africa’s Pan-African role as a platform for collaboration between multidisciplinary experts from across the African continent and the rest of the world.