Japan PM pledges to invest $30bn in Africa by 2018
28 August 2016, 11:25
Nairobi – Japan will pour $30bn of investments into
Africa by 2018, including $10bn in infrastructure development, Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe said on Saturday at a summit in Nairobi.
Abe is using the conference to meet dozens of
leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and
South Africa's Jacob Zuma. It is the first time that the Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (TICAD) is being held in Africa, with all
five previous events hosted in Japan.
"When combined with the investment from the
private sector I expect the total real amount to be $30bn," Abe said as
the TICAD summit got underway.
That figure includes $9bn yet to be spent from
pledges made at the previous TICAD conference in 2013.
"This is an investment that has faith in
Africa's future," he said.
The goal of the conference, organised jointly by
the UN, the African Union, the World Bank and Japan, is to boost trade and aid
to Africa, as Japan hopes that quality will trump quantity in the battle
against cash-rich China for influence on the continent.
While Tokyo already has a well-established presence
in Africa, its financial importance to the continent has long been eclipsed by
regional archrival China.
'Japan can grow vigorously'
The world's second-largest economy – a
resource-hungry giant – recorded total trade with Africa of about $179bn in
2015, dwarfing Japan's approximately $24bn.
Some 30 African heads of state are taking part in
the conference, which runs until Sunday.
Around 70 agreements are expected to be signed.
"We have a feeling in our gut that in Africa,
where possibilities abound, Japan can grow vigorously," said Abe.
"The wealthiest countries today, with very few
exceptions, got rich by trading with others," President Uhuru Kenyatta
said at the conference.
Chad's Idriss Deby, who currently chairs the
African Union, noted that Africa's economy had been badly affected by falling
commodity prices, several conflicts and climate change.
"Our struggle for development cannot succeed
without peace, stability and above all security," he said.
Deby called on Africa's partners to contribute to a
counter-terrorism fund recently set up by the African Union and to help speed
up economic growth, poverty reduction and promote better health care.
The World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight Aids,
Tuberculosis and Malaria meanwhile pledged $24bn over the next three to five
years towards Africa's efforts to achieve universal health coverage.