Japan hikes grant support for energy and water

The Ubungo power plant in Tanzania. The Japanese government budgeted $36.94 million for its largest grant initiative for the period — the Project for Reinforcement of Power Distribution in Dar es Salaam. Photo by: Iain Cameron / CC BY

For the second half of 2014, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved 12.07 billion yen ($101.17 million) in grant financing for energy and water projects, boosting support for the sectors.

Securing energy access has long been the focus of Japanese development cooperation. Tokyo considers insufficient and unreliable power supply as a very serious barrier to private investment, effectively hampering sustainable economic growth. To help create robust and sustainable economies, the Japan International Cooperation Agency expanded its investments in the sector, signing off on $1.87 billion worth of energy loan projects.

MOFA is similarly boosting its engagement in the sector through two major energy initiatives. The ministry budgeted $36.94 million for its largest grant initiative for the period — the Project for Reinforcement of Power Distribution in Dar es Salaam. The project aims to meet growing energy demand in Tanzania’s commercial capital by repairing existing distribution facilities and substations.

MOFA grant aid projects approved in the second half of 2014. Table lists projects only for the top 10 country recipients during the period. View larger version.

In Uganda, MOFA is leveraging Japanese expertise to boost power supply and stability in the Kampala metropolitan area. Land restrictions have derailed plans to expand power transmission and distribution facilities in the national capital. The $21.11 million project will improve the Queensway substation by installing gas-insulated switchgears, resulting in a smaller land footprint compared to typical compact-type substations.

In line with promises made during the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama, these large energy grants reaffirm Japan’s continued commitment to Africa. The 2013 high-level donor conference concluded with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge of pouring $14 billion in aid to the continent over the next five years. Half of the amount, Abe explained, will go to developing Africa’s infrastructure, particularly energy and transport.

Japan continues to be the largest donor for water and sanitation, spending $1.3 billion or 31 percent of total aid received from bilateral members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2013. Japan’s work in the sector has largely focused on improving water supply and sanitation, enhancing water productivity and resource management, addressing water pollution, and mitigating flood disasters.

To meet growing demand for safe water and improved sanitation in developing countries, Japan’s grants provide comprehensive assistance, from well drilling to planning, building and properly managing water and sewer systems. The Project for Rehabilitation and Expansion of the Water Networks in Balqa Governorate will install pipes and build three reservoirs to increase access to safe drinking water in Jordan’s Deir Alla and Ain Al Basha departments. In Tajikistan, MOFA will improve and upgrade regional water supply infrastructure through the Project for Rehabilitation of Drinking Water Supply Systems in Pyanj district, Khatlon region.

Condensed and republished with permission from The International Development Journal, a leading monthly journal in Japanese focusing on international development.

About the author

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    Christine Dugay

    Christine is a senior analyst under the Surveys and Advisory Services team of Devex. A skilled researcher, she contributes to and/or leads custom research projects and surveys commissioned by leading companies and development institutions. Christine has a professional certificate in political economy and a master’s degree in Japanese studies, and is a fellow of the Japan Foundation.