ABIDJAN — The recent signing of a $300 million private sector loan assistance agreement between Japan and the African Development Bank highlighted a growing Japanese interest in maintaining and expanding its presence on the continent.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency currently operates programs across two-thirds of the continent, primarily with an eye to improving and encouraging a robust private sector.
“My impression is that the international community is now starting to realize the importance of private sector-driven economic development, which will eventually help countries to reduce poverty,” JICA Senior Vice President Hiroshi Kato told Devex. “In some countries and areas, Africa is more ready to receive a new type of cooperation that Japan has consistently been advocating.”
Africa is the second largest recipient of Japanese aid behind Asia. Last year, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the country’s plan to invest $30 billion in African infrastructure development, education and health care expansion over the next three years.