Resource-poor Japan has long been interested in tapping Africa's
vast natural resources, even more so since dependence on oil and
natural gas imports jumped after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear
disaster shut almost all of Japan's nuclear reactors.
Abe, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to attend the sixth Tokyo
International Conference on African Development (TICAD), said
the package would be spread over three years from this year and
include $10 billion for infrastructure projects on the
continent, to be executed through cooperation with the African
"When combined with investment from the private sector, I expect
that the total will amount to $30 billion. This is an investment
that has faith in Africa's future, an investment for Japan and
Africa to grow together," he told a gathering of more than 30
heads of state and government from across Africa.
The $30 billion announced on Saturday is in addition to $32
billion that Japan pledged to Africa over a five-year period at
the last TICAD meeting in 2013. Abe said 67 percent of that had
already been put to use in various projects.
"Today's new pledges will enhance and further expand upon those
launched three years ago. The motive is quality and
enhancement," he said.
Japan's overall direct investment in Africa totaled $1.24
billion in 2015, down from about $1.5 billion a year earlier,
according to the Japan External Trade Organization, which does
not provide a breakdown of sectors.
Japan's presence in infrastructure projects range from roads,
ports, airports to power plants.
In comparison, rival China made a single investment of $2
billion in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea in the month of April,
Abe said the new pledge will also go towards improving labor
productivity and healthcare.
Chadian President and current African Union Chairman Idriss Deby,
attending the summit, urged Tokyo to lend support to efforts to
tackle insecurity, including that arising from terrorism.
"At the recent African Union Summit, we did say how it was
important to mobilise the international community to counter all
these scourges," he said.
"I urge all our partners, and in particular Japan, to contribute
to the African Fund Against Terrorism that was set up and
established by the Kigali summit," Deby said, in reference to an
AU meeting held in Rwanda in July.
(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by
Aaron Maasho and Susan Fenton)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.