Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting several African countries in early 2014 in a bid to boost Japanese investment in these countries. Sources say he will be touring the continent with a group of businessmen from January 9-15, visiting specifically South Africa, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire.
This will be the first time that a Japanese Prime Minister will be visiting several countries in the sub-Saharan continent, not since Junichiro Koizumi went to Ethiopia and Ghana back in 2006. Some Japanese companies have been making significant investments in several projects in Africa, and Abe will be looking to explore even more opportunities as Japan continues to grow economic partnerships with countries outside its region. South Africa is a good prospect for investment as it accounts for 30% of the continent’s gross national product. Currently, Japan has been importing rare metals from the largest emerging country in the region.
Mitsui & Co. is developing the world’s largest natural gas field in Mozambique and this is expected to become an important source of liquified natural gas (LNG) for Japan in the future. The field will be producing 10 million tons of LNG by 2018, with almost half of it to be exported to Japan. Meanwhile, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. have joined a joint venture and just this year won the rights to produce iron also in Mozambique. The coal mining in the country is expected to start by 2016.
Cote d’Ivoire has a special fondness for Japanese sports and culture, holding annual judo and karate tournaments and known as one of the most pro-Japanese countries in the region. This will be the first time that a Japanese minister will be visiting a French-speaking African country. Japan hopes that the relationship with African countries will be strengthened in the next few years and the countries there are hoping for more Japanese companies to invest in their infrastructure projects.
[ via Yomiuri ]
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