About JICA Scholarship

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is one of the organizations that is committed to encouraging students from various nations to pursue their higher education in Japan. The most common scholarship programs offered by JICA are as follows:

JICA Scholarships 2020 for Africa

For the last three decades, Japan has been actively enticing international students from different corners of the world and has attracted most students from Asian countries. However, considering a clear and ongoing need to diversify its global student network, it is now strengthening its policies to recruit African students for both diplomatic and economic purposes, in competition with its Asian neighbors. Therefore, it has continued to invite students with scholarships from various African countries. One of the most well-known scholarship programs for African students to study in Japan is JICA Scholarship, with two programs described below.

(1) Master’s Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative)

  • Duration: September 2020 – August 2023

The ABE Initiative program provides African youths with opportunities to study at Japanese universities and to work at Japanese enterprises. Under this program, you can spend 1-2 years studying master’s courses at Japanese universities and 6 months studying as a research student. You are also able to receive internship opportunities at Japanese companies. Accepted students are expected to develop advanced skills and help contribute to the development of African industries, ultimately helping Japanese businesses to engage further in economic activities with Africa.

Eligible students:

  • Be citizens or permanent residents of South Africa (54 African countries that join this program)
  • Be less than 40 (before 1 April 2020)
  • Have work experience & good health condition
  • Not serving in the military
  • Bachelor’s degree (B-Tech included) with honors or equivalent to NQF8 or above
  • A minimum average of 65% score in the academic transcript
  • Have a good understanding of the ABE Initiative’s objectives
  • Have adequate English skills in both written and oral communication

(2) SDGs Global Leadership Program

  • September 2020 – August 2023

Belonging to the JICA Scholarship, the Sustainable Development Goals Global Leadership Program aims to capacitate young or mid-career human resources who show dedication and willingness to contribute towards strengthening the collaboration between Africa and Japan. If you wish to contribute to policy formulation or implementation for handling political and economic issues, this scholarship program will be a perfect fit for you.

Two years will be allocated for a Master’s Degree, and three years for a Ph.D. 

Eligible students

  • Be less than 40 (before 1 April 2020)
  • Be residing in one of the 49 Sub-Saharan African countries
  • Must hold a Bachelor’s degree (B-Tech included) with honors or equivalent to NQF8 and an average of 65% in academic transcripts for the Master’s Degree
  • Must hold a Master degree (NQF 9) and a minimum average of 65% in academic transcripts for Doctor’s Degree
  • Have more than six months of working experience in the current organization
  • Must obtain permission to apply and secure reinstatement from the current organization
  • Must have adequate English skills in both written and oral communication (TOEFL iBT:80 / CEFR: B2 or the equivalent scores from other international English examinations)

During both the ABE and SDGs program, you are given the opportunity to participate in the “Additional Program” and the Japan Development Studies Program (JICA-DSP).  In the first program, you can attend information sessions such as the networking fair with Japanese companies and internships at Japanese companies/organizations and Japanese language seminars. Meanwhile, you have to apply to join the JICA-DSP, which provides in-depth insights about Japan’s modernization and development experiences, as well as its wisdom after World War II.

Selection Procedure:

There are mainly three selection processes:

(A) Selection in each country

Firstly, there will be a screening round of the submitted JICA’s application documents. If you are an eligible student and have submitted all required documents, you can proceed on to the interview round, which will be conducted by the JICA office in your country.

(B) Matching with Japanese universities

When you have already been selected in the previous selection, the JICA office in your nation will send your application documents to your desired Japanese universities (from the first choice to the third choice). In this process, Japanese universities will carry out the document screening process, which mainly looks at your “Research plan” that you have submitted, the undergraduate degree graduation certificate, and the academic transcript.

Universities will examine the documents to check if your field of study and research plan is matched with the courses/supervisors. If you are selected, you will receive a list of Japanese universities that you can apply for and proceed on to the next step.

(C) Selection by Japanese universities

The purpose of this selection is for Japanese universities to assess if you are totally suitable and perfect fit for being a scholar. After the screening of submitted university application documents, you may also have to attend interviews via Skype if necessary.

However, please note that JICA may adjust the number of candidates after this selection based on a balance of the number of candidates from each country. Therefore, if you pass the selection by Japanese universities, you are not guaranteed as a successful candidate for the program.

Required documents:

(1)  Application form:

  • Personal information
  • Declaration of desired university placement
  • Education background
  • Present organization and nomination
  • Work experience
  • Medical history
  • Declaration
  • Checklist
  • Details of current and previous work
  • Career Plan after Graduation
  • Research Plan
  • Score of English examination

(2)  Undergraduate degree graduation certificate that is officially certified.
(3)  Academic transcript
(4) A copy of valid passport with photo.
(5)  2 ID Photos (4 cm×3 cm) pasted on the application form (Original and copy)
(6)  Health certificate to be submitted after the 4th Selection

Please note that if your submitted documents are not in English:
* A copy of “Officially certified copies of the original” is acceptable
* The document must be accompanied by an official translation.

Ending note

If you are an African student, you can apply for two JICA scholarship programs in 2020, which are the ABE and SDGs programs. Under these programs, you can choose to study for a master’s or a doctoral degree, or even attend a short-term program as a research student or an internship program.

For further information about the list of partner countries with JICA, you can visit JICA’s official website for African students.