Japan announced on Tuesday that it will be doubling the low-interest loans for African countries for development projects that will be completed up to 2016. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the announcement during a speech at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the last leg of his weeklong trip through the Middle East and Africa.
The initial loan of $1 billion was announced back in 2012 and will be coursed through the African Development Bank and other relevant countries in order to fund infrastructure projects and other development-related initiatives. Abe also announced $320 million in aid for the African Union, specifically as a response to civil war and disasters in the region, with $25 million earmarked for the worsening crisis in South Sudan. “All parties need to reach an early agreement to stop violence… There also needs to be sincere efforts towards national reconciliation amongst the ethnic groups,” he said regarding the situation in the country, where weeks of violence has already left thousands dead. Japan has 400 troops posted in the area as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force.
Abe also shared that Japan will be paying special attention to projects involving women and children in Africa, as this will lead to a better future for the continent. He also asked African leaders to help bring about Japanese investors to their countries, as it can “lead to the establishment of a win-win relationship” in terms of both vocational training and bringing about employment to the people.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the AU executive council, said they are very grateful for the support of Japan in terms of peace and security, humanitarian assistance as well as capacity building for the African countries. Abe believes Africa now “carries the hopes of the world through the latent potential of its resources and its dynamic economic growth.” He said he is looking forward to coming back to the continent as many times as possible in order to oversee and support those that are contributing to making a “brilliant future” for the region.
[ via Kyodo ]
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