Africa/WorldBusiness

Africa Set to Receive U.S.$30 Billion in Japan Funding

Africa will receive up to $30 billion in the next three years in public and private support for infrastructure development, education and healthcare expansion.

This was announced as the summit came to a close, adopting the Nairobi Declaration that called for enhanced focus on industrialisation, education, health and peace across the continent.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the package would include $10 billion for infrastructure projects, to be executed through cooperation with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The projects to be covered under this tranche will include electricity generation, urban transport, roads and ports.

“When combined with investment from the private sector, I expect that the total will amount to $30 billion. This is an investment that has faith in Africa’s future, an investment for Japan and Africa to grow together,” Mr. Abe said.

The funds will not be channelled directly through government-government channels but instead through aid agencies and private sector financing model.

“We have already put in use more than 67 per cent of the $32 billion pledge we did in Yokohama, so this new round of funding will complement the difference and will go a long way to enhance and further expand upon those launched three years ago. The motive is quality and enhancement,” Mr. Abe said.

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation, the Asian country’s overall direct investment in Africa dropped to $1.24 billion last year, from about $1.5 billion in 2014.

In the funding pledge, Japan said the money will go towards various power projects to increase production capacity by 2,200 megawatts across the continent. Tokyo will also offer funding to train 20,000 mathematics and science teachers throughout Africa, as well as 20,000 experts on how to handle infectious diseases.

UN permanent seat

Outside of the economic aid package, Mr. Abe used the occasion to push the diplomatic charm over its quest for a United Nations Security Council permanent seat.

“It is our promise to support an African country as well as Japan to secure permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council. Africa has a right to demand the international community better reflect its views, and this should happen by 2023 at the very latest,” Mr Abe said.

While adopting the Nairobi Declaration, the African leaders and Japan pledged to tame the rising threat of extremism, piracy on the seas and to improve the business environment on the continent. This is after Japan promised the continent $500 million for vocational training for 50,000 youth in Africa to dissuade them from joining terrorist groups.

Tokyo hopes that before the next Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad) summit to be held in Japan by the end of 2019, about 9.6 million youth would have benefited from the training.

“We resolve to promote social stability by responding comprehensively to security concerns. In this regard, we emphasise that protecting and empowering individuals, especially youth and women, families and their communities by improving access to education, technical and vocational training, job creation and opportunity, and promoting social cohesion, are fundamental,” they said in the Nairobi Declaration.

As the forum came to a close, 22 Japanese firms signed 73 memorandum of understandings (MoUs) valued at $200 million with development agencies from 26 African countries and international organisations for roads, energy, health, agriculture, education and infrastructure development.

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