Abe pledges to in­vest US$30 bil­lion in Africa

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

JA­PAN will pour US$30 bil­lion in in­vest­ments into Africa by 2018, in­clud­ing $10 bil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said at a sum­mit in Nairobi over the week­end.

Mr Abe was us­ing the con­fer­ence to meet dozens of lead­ers from across Africa, among them Kenya’s Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and South Africa’s Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. It is the first time that the Tokyo In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on African De­vel­op­ment (TICAD) is be­ing held in Africa, with all five pre­vi­ous events hosted in Ja­pan.

“When com­bined with the in­vest­ment from the pri­vate sec­tor I ex­pect the to­tal real amount to be $30 bil­lion,” Mr Abe said.

“This is an in­vest­ment that has faith in Africa’s fu­ture,” he said.

The goal of the con­fer­ence, or­gan­ised jointly by the UN, the African Union, the World Bank and Ja­pan, is to boost trade and aid to Africa, as Ja­pan hopes that qual­ity will trump quan­tity in the battle against China for in­flu­ence on the con­ti­nent.

While Tokyo al­ready has a wellestab­lished pres­ence in Africa, its fi­nan­cial im­por­tance to the con­ti­nent has long been eclipsed by re­gional archri­val China.

Re­source-hun­gry China recorded to­tal trade of about $179 bil­lion with Africa in 2015, dwarf­ing Ja­pan’s ap­prox­i­mately $24 bil­lion.

Chad’s Idriss Deby, who cur­rently chairs the African Union, noted that Africa’s econ­omy had been badly af­fected by fall­ing com­mod­ity prices, sev­eral con­flicts and cli­mate change.

Mr Deby called on Africa’s part­ners to con­trib­ute to help speed up eco­nomic growth, poverty re­duc­tion and pro­mote bet­ter health­care. –

Photo: AFP

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe (left) at­tends the open­ing of the Tokyo In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on African De­vel­op­ment in Nairobi.

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