Art & Design

Vibrant Africa: The Power of People

16 August - 1 September 2011

The photo exhibition Vibrant Africa brings into focus the astonishing spirit of the people of Africa in the face of any challenges their nations might face.


By the late 19th century, most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa were under the rule of European imperial powers, and only gained political independence between the late 1950s and 1980. This region, which accounts for 18% of the world’s area and 12% of the its population, boasts some of the world’s greatest rivers, rainforests and savannah grasslands. It is rich in minerals and agricultural wealth. It is also known for its diverse cultures and religions as well as for its abundant human resources. In one way or another, our lives in the UK depend on the people and nature of the region.¡¡At the same time, there are a vast number of reports concerning conflicts, corruption, external debt, food insecurity, environmental problems, the HIV/AIDs epidemic and socio-economic inequalities, all of which are closely interrelated with the legacy of colonialism and other human-made and natural disasters.

The GDP of the Sub-Saharan African region is less than 2% (as of 2009) of the world’s total, and the region remains the poorest in the world. It continues to face multiple and multi-layered challenges, but there is a renewed sense of optimism. People are not without hope. The very rich cultures of the region and the people's voices and spirits communicate a message of hope, rather than despair.


Within this context, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been working with and for the people of the region for almost half a century in a wide variety of areas. JICA has expanded its operations there,¡¡particularly since the adoption of the Yokohama Action Plan (2008), which prioritises human security and other key issues.


JICA’s commitment to the concept of human security places a particular emphasis on the wellbeing of individuals in relation to their society, rights and the environment. The agency’s projects include areas such as improving health and education systems, developing infrastructure, strengthening agriculture and training key personnel to tackle more recent problems such as climate change and its devastating effect on the environment.


The collection of powerful photographs in Vibrant Africa  not only focuses on the activities of the Japan International Cooperation Agency but above all on the millions of lives these activities have touched. We see international development giving men, women and children the courage to face the hardships of their everyday lives and the power to change their own futures.


To discover more, please visit:

16 August - 1 September 2011

The Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 - 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

The Embassy of Japan in the UK