If there were any silver lining from an organizational perspective, we would say that, despite the crushing losses and turbulence, COVID-19 made us revalidate our purpose, dig deep into our resilience, and patiently recalibrate our strategies to fulfill our mission as an NPO.
2020 was probably the worst year to launch anything.
Indeed, single handedly, COVID-19 has nipped the budding of countless careers, startups, products, or services, and the AfCCJ, as a nascent non-profit organisation, was no exception.
We had placed all our bets on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the perfect stage to launch the AfCCJ with great fanfare. All things were set to be the Africa-Japan business spotlight of the Olympics, with a series of business-related events and content lined up for 14 days of summer.
However, fate has decided otherwise.
Like many students, founders, businesses, and organisations, we were forced to stomach financial losses, lose momentum, and mobilize whatever remaining resources to pick ourselves up, adapt, and re-strategize during a time that was as unpredictable as catastrophic.
COVID-19 has exposed the essential and non-essential aspects of several organizations, many being compelled to “trim the fat”. This challenging exercise made us deeply reflect on essential and relevant elements for the COVID-era of Africa-Japan relations, which led us to the following three conclusions.
While our fundamental mission remains consistent, we decided to redefine it by no longer wanting to deal with the institutional rigidity of being a Chamber of Commerce, but rather remain nimble in addressing current issues in Africa-Japan relations by focusing on the creation of what is truly missing: the “ultimate Africa-Japan business community”.
We created the AfCCJ Network, a digital platform designed to enable countries and organisations to promote themselves to potential partners and investors in Africa and Japan in three (3) languages (English, Japanese, French). The AfCCJ Network will serve as a specialized social network and source of information focussed on Africa-Japan relations, thus creating the ultimate Africa-Japan Business Community that will “unleash the true potential of our relationship”. We will soon be launching the beta version of the AfCCJ Network and look forward to your feedback as part of an iterative process towards perfection.
Our goal is to open up our platform to as many countries, businesses and entrepreneurs from Africa and Japan (as well as third countries) as possible, allowing them to effectively promote themselves and connect with one another.
If there were any silver lining from an organizational perspective, we would say that, despite the crushing losses and turbulence, COVID-19 made us revalidate our purpose, dig deep into our resilience, and patiently recalibrate our strategies to fulfill our mission as an NPO. It also made us count our blessings: our three wonderful Japanese Founding Members (Saraya Ltd, Nippon Express, SBI Holdings) and the several African embassies in Tokyo and National Investment Promotion Agencies who continue to believe in our vision and who clearly see the necessity of the AfCCJ in the COVID era of Japan-Africa relations. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
For all the newcomers, we welcome you onboard with open arms and invite you to join the Community by registering as early members as we prepare the launch of the Beta version of the AfCCJ Network. Please follow us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn) and interact with us as well, for the strength of a community comes from the engagement of its members. Thank you all for your support!
Let us, together, put words into action and unleash the true potential of our relationship!