A high-level donor conference on Africa ends on Monday in Yokohama with a pledge from Japan to pour $14 billion in aid to the continent over the next five years.
The amount was announced during the three-day Tokyo International Conference on African Development by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who explained that half the money will go to developing Africa’s infrastructure, particularly transport and energy. Including private sector investment, Japan plans to inject up to $32 billion in the continent.
On education, Abe also said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide scholarships to 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students from Africa to study in Japan and then work as interns in Japanese companies, and offer employment to another 30,000 young Africans, building on JICA’s human resources development knowledge.
The conference was attended by leaders of over 40 African countries and dozens of top players in government, business and development, among them World Bank President Jim Young Kim and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Ban said in his speech that Africa should see these investment opportunities as an opportunity to truly integrate itself in the world economy to diversify its growth and become more resilient, banking on the private sector, trade and investment as “engines of development.”
“Responsible foreign investment holds more potential for Africa than any other source of development capital, including official development assistance,” he noted.
TICAD is jointly organised by Japan, the African Union, United Nations, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank to bring together development partners, donor countries, private companies and NGOs to discuss the continent’s development.
Japan — the 8th top donor to Africa with $1.07 billion, according to the OECD — is now actively engaging in Africa’s development, a move which some analysts believe is looking to counter China’s growing influence in the continent. JICA President Akihiko Tanaka recently concluded an official visit to several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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