Japan pledges to support Africa growth

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State House of the Republic of Zambia by Thomas Nsama on 6/1/13


THE fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) officially opened in Yokohama, Japan, yesterday with the country’s prime minister pledging to support African growth with approximately US$ 32 billion in aid.
About 3.2 trillion yen will be given for over the next five years.
Meanwhile, the country has congratulated Africa on the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Japanese Government assistance package for Africa at TICADV   will mainly boost economic growth (private sector development, trade and investment and natural resources).
The country wants to accelerate capacity development infrastructure, human resource development, science and technology and tourism.
Mr Shinzo was speaking at the opening session of the TICAD V at Pacifico Yokohama Conference Centre on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.
The speech was under the theme ‘The Africa that Joins in Partnership with Japan is Brighter Still’.
He also urged countries to focus on private sector investment through focusing on private public partnerships to leverage investment.
“If we recognise this as a new reality, then it will be necessary to revolutionise the way of providing assistance to Africa,” he said.
He also said Japan will also underwrite a maximum of US$2 billion of trade insurance in Africa.
Through the preparatory process for the conference, African countries were asked to state areas that should receive the greatest emphasis at present.
The responses were the same as always–further development of infrastructure, business-savvy human capacities, health, and agriculture.
Included in the support is US$650 billion, which Japan will provide to build infrastructure over the next five years.
He further said the support will also empower farmers as mainstream economic actors for agriculture, food and nutrition security, promoting sustainable and resilient growth in environment, climate change and disaster prevention.
Mr Shinzo said the country has also pledged support in Overseas Development Assistance of around 1.4 trillion yen and other public and private resources of around US$16 billion This will be allocated to developing the infrastructure that Africa itself deems necessary.
The country will also invite administrative officials from Africa to Japan in order to create essential systems for advancing public-private partnerships.
Speaking at the same function, African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazani Dlamini Zuma said the TICAD V conference will adopt two main documents ,including the Yokohama declaration 2013 and the Yokohoma of Action 2013- 2017, as a consensus was reached for their adoption and submission to the summit for endorsement.
Earlier, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said Africa has achieved great progress on the Millennium Development Goals