Japan PM pledges to invest US$30b in Africa by 2018

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) listening to Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto during a session with Kenya's Ministry of Health and world Bank group at the TICAD conference on Aug 26, 2016, in Nairobi.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) listening to Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto during a session with Kenya's Ministry of Health and world Bank group at the TICAD conference on Aug 26, 2016, in Nairobi. PHOTO: AFP

NAIROBI (AFP) – Japan will pour US$30 billion (S$40 billion euros) in investment in Africa by 2018, including US$10 billion in infrastructure development, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday (Aug 27) at a summit in Nairobi.

“When combined with the investment from the private sector I expect the total real amount to be US$30 billion,” Abe said at the opening of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

“This is an investment that has faith in Africa’s future,” he said.

Abe will use the conference to meet dozens of leaders from across Africa, among them Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.

It is the first time that the TICAD conference is being held in Africa, with all five previous events hosted in Japan.

The goal of the conference is to boost trade and aid to Africa, as Japan hopes that quality will trump quantity in the battle for influence against cash-rich China.

While Tokyo already has a well-established presence in Africa, its financial importance to the continent has long since been eclipsed by regional rival China.

The world’s second-largest economy – a resource-hungry giant – recorded total trade with Africa of about US$179 billion in 2015, dwarfing Japan’s approximately US$24 billion.