Applying the Kaizen in Africa


The Japanese word “Kaizen” originally means “improvement”. It is a management philosophy and know-how that brings about continuous improvement of quality and productivity. Kaizen is a human-oriented approach which fosters teamwork, self-reliance, creativity and ingenuity. Although Kaizen is a long-term approach consisting of small steps and with little investment, it promotes the very core capabilities of firms such as production and management, which will be essential for the firms’ growth. Recently, Kaizen is also starting to attract the world as a growing foundation of capabilities towards innovation. JICA has been conducting Kaizen projects in 8 African countries and training programs for more than 25 countries in Africa, which have demonstrated thought-provoking results. However, it cannot be said that Kaizen is widely known in Africa. For this reason, this book explains
what Kaizen is, how it was applied in developing countries and how concrete tools and methodologies are implemented while explaining the empirical knowledge obtained through practical achievements, as well as theoretical reasons, to support the belief that Kaizen is an effective entry point for industrial development in Africa.