Japanese Prime Minister Pledges $14 Billion in Aid for Africa

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will make a large aid investment in Africa because the continent will be a growth engine in the coming years and will be at the leading edge of economic expansion. He also advocated for Japan to make a commitment to the continent in a mutually beneficial way.

Abe made his remarks at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama in early June. He opened the conference with a $14 billion (1.3 trillion yen) pledge for aid to help Africa. The investment is part of a larger investment of 3.2 trillion yen from Japan’s private and public sectors over the next five years. Abe told a press conference that this is a prime time for Japan to invest in Africa.

The investment is expected to support trade, infrastructure and private sector development, agriculture, agro-processing and health.

“Africa will be a growth center over the next couple of decades until the middle of this century,” Abe said. “Now is the time for us to invest in Africa.”

Abe said Japan would focus on industrialization in Africa to “generate employment and growth.”

Japan has been a long time investor in Africa, but it recently fell behind China, which has taken an aggressive approach to investment on the continent. Critics have charged that China’s investment is focused on a so-called resources grab and has not focused enough on improving human rights.

Officials in Japan stress that the country’s relationship with Africa should be a business partnership, not just a simple donor relationship. Abe has pledged to triple the value of infrastructure exports from Japan, which could be a good fit with Africa’s need for infrastructure such as roads, rails, ports and a stable power grid.

– Liza Casabona

Source: United Nations’ Development Programme, Economic Times
Photo: Rendezvous