The Japan-Arab Economic Forum started on Wednesday in Casablanca, Morocco. The Forum’s goal is to enhance and strengthen relations between Japan and the Arab nations. Cabinet members from participating countries discuss topics ranging from human resource development to economic diversification. Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Mikio Hayashi disclosed Japan’s policy of increasing Japanese investment under the investment pact signed by five Arab nations. Hayashi hopes to increase the number of signatories to ten by 2020.
Two and a half years have passed since the third forum held in Tokyo in 2013. This year, about 800 participants gathered from 22 Arab nations/areas and Japan. They adopted the joint “Casablanca Declaration” on Wednesday, which, among other things, confirms that Japan and the Arab nations will exert efforts to promote investment. Planned for Thursday are subgroup discussions where business participants can exchange opinions about cooperation in the areas of finance and human resource development.
The Arab nations are currently suffering from an economic slowdown caused by the rise of the extremist movement and the fall of oil prices. On the other hand, those countries have burgeoning populations that may become promising markets. They are eager to diversify their industries through investment from Japan.
Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy Alami expressed their expectations for Japan: “With Japanese support, we would like to strengthen our human resource development strategy and diversify our economy.” Japan Business Federation [Keidanren] vice chairman Yasushi Kimura (JX Holdings, Inc.) commented during a talk that the region’s political and economic stability and security are important. He asked the Arab governments to create a favorable environment for Japanese investment.