The Japanese government has pledged the sum of $32 billion in aid to Africa at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development summit in the Japanese city of Yokohama.
The aid is aimed at providing public and private sector Investment on the African continent in the area of trade, commerce and among other areas in the economy of African nations.
Some 50 African leaders and officials including African Union chairperson Hailemariam Desalegn, African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon all gathered for the three-day conference held in Yokohama.
Issues discussed included economic development, peace-making and anti-piracy which are relevant issues bothering on the development of the African continent.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the package includes $14 billion in Official Development Aid and a further $6 billion in infrastructural support.
Mr. Abe highlighted on the importance of public and private sector investment in the African continent and said it is vital in the development of the African economy.
“What Africa needs now is private sector investment, Public-Private Partnerships leverages that investment and it is very important in the development of the economy”, PM Abe noted.
He also said he has planned a series of visit to African nations to see how the aid will be implemented to benefit the African people.
The African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on behalf of the African nations that some of the aid will be used in investing in the education and skills development of Africans to accelerate industrialization on the continent.
She said further that focus on youth and women are the main drivers of economic growth if the continent were to achieve its objectives of transformation and modernization.
Japan lacks natural resources and has therefore been keen in tapping into Africa’s rich resources as a result of the recent over dependence on oil and gas imports from Africa because of the Fukushima Disaster in March 2011 which led to the closure of all its nuclear reactors in the country.
The Japanese External Trade Organization also said at the conference that Direct Investment streaming from Japan stood at $460 million which is far from China’s $3.17 billion. This the Japanese believe that they must do a lot in order to catch up with the Chinese in Africa.
Other public-private sector proposed investments include Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp and the state run firm which will provide investment worth $2 billion for a five year period to assist Japanese firms’ in natural resource development with the aim of competing with Chinese companies in Africa.
Africa is among other continents in the world which is the leading destination for foreign aid aimed at boosting economic growth in the world.
Most recently, Asian countries have taken the front foot in providing Africa with support in form of financial aid to boost the economy.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News