ABE Initiative Internship Program 2017

We began communicating with ABE Initiative participants who had exchanged on the Africa Business Networking Fair on March 24, 2017, and finally, an internship opportunity accepted participants from 5 countries and 6 people. Internship program began on July 31st with a schedule of 5 days. This time we co-hosted in Gumma Prefecture in cooperation with promotion activities of Nihon Zeusu Industry Co., Ltd., aiming at spreading environment improvement technology and organic agriculture.

The ABE Initiative participants are expected to become a bridge between Japan and Africa’s business in the future. Its purpose is clear, and in order to create a future business, the outcome of this internship program has been of great use in knowing what tasks are anticipated when entering the actual business.

In international business, we always encounter differences between the two countries, and there are many times we suffer from the difference. On the first day of the internship, we discussed the differences encountered in international business. Not only between Japan and African countries but also five African countries gathered, we saw the differences among African countries and became active discussions. I think that going in from such a topic is unique to us as an intermediary business of Africa business.

Learning international business matching



In this internship, we focused on waste management and agriculture in each country and researched how to develop a combination project of the liquid fertilizer producing plant using raw garbage and organic agriculture using its fertilizer. After having visited the plant and the test farm and studied the technical field, we got presentations of the ideas of each country and each person.

Getting on the plant and watching process of producing liquid fertilizer


At the test farm-sweet potato field,  learning activating soil and weeding


This time, the participants gathered from Niigata, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, I got together from Hiroshima, and accommodation was made in the same hotel. I had a role like their teacher (?) with sleeping, meals, and atmosphere like a training camp. But humanity and personality of each person was well understood, and it has become an opportunity of building a mutual trust relationship for the future.

Memorial photo on the day of visiting the plant


Website of Africa Asia Business Portfolio

Hi, I am Ai Sasaki, working as a financial planner in Japan.

Our company opened a special website of “Africa Asia Business Portfolio” last May.  I was thinking it is necessary to open the website by bilingual at least in Japanese and English because our network is spreading in the world. But the website of I Planning LLC is still alive for domestic local service in Japan.

We will promote business between Africa and Asia and make it bigger, then separate this business from I Planning LLC.


Ghanaian’s interest・・・Peace and Stability

Hi, I am Ai Sasaki, working as a financial planner in Japan.

I moved the blog from “blogger” to here in wordpress from today’s article.

For most people in the world don’t know about countries except their county, usually we know information in the world through TV, newspapers, online news……and products and services. For example, for Japanese, Ghana is an unfamiliar country and their knowledge about Ghana is a chocolate product named “Ghana” and is known as a cacao producing country. Ghanaian knowledge about Japan may be “TOYOTA” or “JICA”.

When I talk about Ghana most people who hear about Ghana first time ask me “How about public security?” There are 54 countries in Africa continent, Ghana’s public security is one of the best in Africa. Politics is stable and there is no internal conflicts though it is a multiracial nation. Ghanaian national character is to respect peace and stability, and they are proud of that. The other day, I found an article about result of the sampling research by Ghanaian media, Daily Online (online version of the most popular newspaper “Daily Graphic”). What is Ghanaian’s interest in 2016?


First place is “Peace and Stability”. I feel Ghana’s public security is good through my travels. Remembering every Ghanaian I met said “Ghana is a peaceful country!” I agreed to the result of the sampling research. Half of the voters answered “Peace and Stability”. Ghana is adjacent to neighbor countries. Refugees from the neighbor countries have come into Ghana to seek for shelters. I think Ghanaian get the feel of the importance of peace and stability by knowing internal conflicts and faced terrorism in neighbor countries, continuing to keep “Peace and Stability” could be one of their pride.

For inviting tourists, inviting ODA and volunteers, inviting investors from the overseas, “Peace and Stability” is a minimum requirement for their activities in Ghana. Why Ghana has been able to be a leader and having stable economic development in west Africa is for Ghanaian’s efforts for “Peace and Stability”. I can understand foreign investors locate their business base of west Africa in Ghana. I took the Japanese company for the research  in the project site last November, we could show them actual Ghana’s “Peace and Stability”

Labadi Beach on 29th November in 2015

(I will write about after the second place in another chance.)

Character of loving “Peace and Stability” is in common with Japanese. Japan was the first nation to achieve rapid economic growth in Asia. Neighbor Asian countries has achieved economic growth following and looking at Japan’s achievement. I want Ghana to become a model in west Africa like Japan in Asia. They should become the model, they have high potential to become the model.  Then other west African countries will follow and catch up Ghana. I have an image like that.

In the end of today’s article,  I was wondering who I write this blog for. I write almost the same subjects in Japanese for Japanese. Today I found out I want to write this English blog for the persons who are interested in doing business in Ghana and west Africa, and for Ghanaian who want to develop their country and want to do business with Asia. Please share this blog if you like it.

Necessity of respect and understanding for each culture – Ghana

Hi I am Ai Sasaki, working as a financial planner in Japan.

I traveled Ghana last November, it was my third travel. My understanding for Ghana has become deeper day by day. In the first travel which was a hard travel in a rural area I got a culture shock and my health condition became unstable. (If you want to know more see the first travel Ghana

In the second travel I stayed in Accra, state capital of Ghana, for almost one month. Enough time gave me latitude to enjoy local food & life and understand Ghanaian people’s nature, religions, business, banking, etc. 

Roasted Tilapia
Hibiscus tea “Bissap”
Local fruits
Fresh salad
Groundnut soup
Jollof rice


I tried to meet many people as much as I can. I tried to network to some foreigners running business in Ghana through social networking service(SNS) and got appointments before going to Ghana, and visited them. Let me add one thing here. We are easy to connect on SNS globally today but SNS is just first step to connect, then at least we should find their official website or blog to know the reality of their activities. Another way to connect is to get introductions from your reliable contacts. I made several networking opportunities by myself but some opportunities were given by the introductions from my contacts. I visited some Japanese companies and JICA(Japan International Cooperation Agency) too. We have already some local network through my partner Donald, but I understood foreigner’s network is also important to do good job.  In fact I began to feel an affinity to Ghana through the experiences of the second travel, ever since I have continued to get information from our contacts and online.

Due to make cross border business and investment to be profitable we have to know technical matters which are laws & regulations, cost of doing business, tax, workforce, infrastructure, etc. but also it would not be realized without respect and understanding for each culture. I have stood as a middle person of the dealing between Ghana and Japan last one year, I think so very much. Now I think my position should be called “Bridge Person”, not middle person.

What is culture? Generally it is said that is the way of life of a particular group of people at a particular time, traditional custom, knowledge, value, communication and language, food, art, music, clothes, belief, time sense, standard, human relations, etc…..basis of action.

I, personally, can feel closer to Ghanaian culture than ordinary Japanese because of my religion and my partner, Donald. We are a trans-cultural couple. We have a wide capacity to adapt to different culture and can interpret Ghanaian culture in English and Japanese. Donald knows well how to explain in simple English to non-native English speakers because of me.

The world looks different depending on where you stand

Hi I am Ai Sasaki, working as a financial planner in Japan.

World has become smaller and there are no borderlines between individuals. Why I can say is because I can access internet and understand English and have experiences travel abroad. If I didn’t have those experiences my knowledge about the world would be limited more than ever before.  

When I was a girl I learned the world mainly at school and on TV program and news. My favorite subject was world geography and I saw “Children of the world” and “Kaoru Kanetaka’s World Travel” on TV. There was no internet. I started to learn English at junior high school. I really wanted to try to use English as communication tool. So I wrote a letter to the TV station to ask to introduce to me a Canadian boy on the program, then I got a Canadian pen pal and fresh world’s information through him.

When I was 22 I traveled Utah and California in the United States. I enjoyed American culture. I was longing to travel America for a long time because I converted christian at 16 and had some friends of American missionaries. I traveled Italy for honeymoon at 26. That was a travel in touch with history and art.

I was not familiar with world economy and investment at that time. I just wanted to satisfy my interest in different culture and I was just looking at the world from Japan. But now I have chances to travel abroad on my business, and I became to look at Japan from the world and to recognize my environment (Japan) objectively.

Where is the best place to work for you? Do you have a skill for that? Where is the best place to have a business for you? Where is the best place to invest for you? If we want to become wealthy we need to recognize own environment objectively. Then you can answer those questions.

In the beginning…..A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is realty

I am Ai Sasaki, working as a financial planner in Japan.

I am running a company named “I Planning LLC” which provides matchmaking service and financial planning service in Hiroshima. I was born in 1965 and grew up in Hiroshima. I worked as a numerically controlled machine programmer in steel manufacturing industry for 10 years of my early career life. After I got a license of financial planner, I worked in two insurance companies for 9 years and finally started my business of producing family planning and financial planning in 2011. 

I am writing two blogs now. One is Japanese blog “Matchmaker is Financial Planner” about matchmaking and financial planning for Japanese from 2011, another is English blog “I Love Planning” about Japan and international marriage with Japanese woman for men in the world who want to marry Japanese woman from 2013. Our business activities in Ghana started in 2012. I posted some articles about our activities in those blogs.

In “Africa Asia Investment Portfolio”, we will write more about our activities in Ghana, west Africa and investment in other African countries for investors and entrepreneurs reviewing late articles from above two blogs to tell our beginning of Africa business. 

2013 August, Donald & Ai, in World Heritage “Cape Coast Castle”of Elmina, Ghana

Well, I will introduce you another author of this blog, my partner Donald Duke. Donald is African Jewish American from San Francisco, California of the United States. His outlook is Black African but he is a quarter of Jewish and is proud of that very much. He is a Christian. I am a Christian too. After study business at University of San Francisco he has worked in real estate investment business and precious metal & stones business (gold and diamond) in international business relationship in Africa, Europe and Asia. Finally he found a property and his dream in Wawasi village in Obuasi, Ghana where he was working. We knew each other during he worked in Ghana, and he chose me as his business partner and life partner to be his wife.

If I say about his choice in my place, it is like I followed his “DREAM” (I think he led me strongly to follow him). I didn’t have any plan to have business in Ghana in my life and didn’t know about Ghana at all, but I was becoming to think to realize each our dream by corporation because he showed his understanding to my business in Japan. My dream is to have international business and contribute children’s and women’s growth in the world. It was natural process for him to chose a Japanese woman as his partner because he was interested in Japanese culture. I thought achieving our dream could become more powerful if we put our head and talent and abilities together. There are many type of marriage. It would be nice to be a strategic couple.

My motto in my life is that “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality”. We are walking together as the words say.

It has been three years since we started building our business in Ghana. This year we will see more progress in the business. African countries now need investors and business partners to develop their countries. We got a opportunity to introduce Africa investment to Asian , that is why we named the blog title “Africa Asia Investment Portfolio”