Japan is set to announce that it is pledging at least 10 billion US dollars in aid to the African continent as the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) kicks off this weekend. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be revealing the government’s official development aid worth at least one trillion yen at the African conference. Together with the expected corporate connections and investments, Japan looks set to pour in around three trillion yen (30 billion US dollars) into Africa by 2018, as the Asian country fights for a piece of the African market and good deals for the continent’s resources.
Abe, who looks determined to turn around Japan’s ailing economy, has been on a hectic schedule of securing diplomatic deals for Japan’s industries. With the three-day conference that happens only once in 5 years attracting leaders of more than 40 African countries, Abe will look to solidify Japan’s market share in the continent. The TICAD will kick off on Saturday in Yokohama. Japan has traditionally been one of the biggest sources of aid for African nations, but Japan has recently slipped behind China in terms of importance, the latter’s more aggressive approach giving it a trading volume five times bigger and over eight times the direct investment. The conference will be a great venue for Japanese officials and key industry leaders to stress the need to boost trade and investment between Japan and Africa, if there should be any hope of transforming the relationship from an aid-led one to a business partnership.
Apart from the development aid, the Japan government will look to double the 500-billion-yen fund set aside for loan guarantees and investment for infrastructure and resource development projects if African nations should choose Japanese firms for their projects. This is all part of Abe’s pledge to promote Japanese exportable technologies – road, rail and power grid infrastructure – looking to earn at least 3 times from by the year 2020.
[via Channel News Asia]
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