Japan to continue aid to South Africa despite UK withdrawal

Japan International Cooperation Agency President Akihiko Tanaka. Photo by: World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Japan has no plans to end aid to South Africa. This comes even after the U.K. government announced this week that the African country is now capable to “fund its own development.”

“Their [South Africa’s] capacity is relatively higher than neighboring countries, but they still have some development constraints with regards to the lack of capacity of the government and in providing education to some sectors of South African society,” said Japan International Cooperation Agency official Kenichi Shishido.

Shishido, senior advisor to the director-general of JICA’s African department, added that the agency is in talks to help the South African government foster the business environment in the BRICs state.

Japan, which ranks eighth in OECD’s list of top donors by amount in Africa at $1.07 billion, gave almost $9 million in ODA to South Africa in fiscal year 2011, mostly on technical assistance.

Shishido’s comments came after JICA’s chief spent a week in Sub-Saharan Africa as the latest step in the agency’s drive to expand cooperation in the continent.

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka concluded his trip, having visited and conducted meetings with top officials from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan to discuss present and future joint development efforts.

And while the JICA president’s tour will not translate to new assistance and projects on the ground, it serves to stimulate cooperation and discussions with recipient governments, he added.

Japan will host on June 1-3 the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama along with co-organizers U.N. Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the U.N. Development Program and the World Bank.

Shishido said that participants in the event will discuss the agenda for development in the continent. Among the priority countries will be conflict states like Sudan and South Sudan, which will benefit from Japan’s three pillars of cooperation in Africa: promoting peace and stability as well as economic development (infrastructure, trade & investment, capacity development and promotion of private investment), and social development (health, water, climate change and education).

The advisor stressed that Japan will continue to play an active role in enhancing private sector development in Africa “to help sustain its economic growth in the long term.”

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    Johanna Morden

    Johanna Morden is a community development worker by training and a global development journalist by profession. As a Devex staff writer based in Manila, she covers the Asian Development Bank as well as Asia-Pacific's aid community at large. Johanna has written for a variety of international publications, covering social issues, disasters, government, ICT, business and the law.

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