• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Japan dangles $30 billion in aid to Africa

Japan dangles $30 billion in aid to Africa

The Japanese government has earmarked $30 billion over three years, towards public and private financial contributions to African people and their businesses, Kishida Fumio, the country’s Prime Minister has said.

Some of the programmes that would be financed by the initiative the country said will go towards the continent, will fund programmes to improve agriculture, human resources development, start-ups, tackling infectious diseases, and sustainable projects.

“Through these measures, working together with Africa, Japan will contribute vigorously to African development, based on African ownership,” said Prime Minister Fumio at a press conference during the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), in Tunis, Tunisia.

Fumio said the initiative will include the launch of US$4 billion “Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa” to improve the quality of people’s lives.

It will create an investment fund for startups of over 10 billion Japanese yen provided by the Japanese business community to support entrepreneurship.

Japan also plans support of up to US$5 billion to be provided through cooperation with the African Development Bank for the comprehensive development of the private sector.

It will also contribute up to US$1.08 billion to the Global Fund for tackling infectious diseases.

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The fund will also provide food assistance of US$130 million for building resilient and sustainable societies, aimed at defending people’s lives as they face rising food and energy prices, as well as the co-financing of a US$300 million loan for the African Emergency Food Production Facility of the African Development Bank.

To underscore his commitment, the country’s prime minister said Japan has reviewed its Travel Advice and Warning on Infectious Diseases for countries and regions with low numbers of COVID-19 infections, including many African countries.

“Furthermore, we will gradually ease our border control measures so that entry into Japan will become as smooth as it is in other G7 countries,” he said.

In her reaction to the news, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organisation welcomed the move and encouraged countries like Japan to “come back to Africa” and help integrate the continent into global supply chains for value-added goods and services.

She said this would help African growth, job creation, and development while also benefitting investing companies. To this end, the DG welcomed the announcement by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of USD 30 billion in contributions to Africa over the next three years.

Participants in TICAD 8 issued a concluding “Tunis Declaration” in which they reaffirmed their commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core.

They also called for the implementation of the outcomes reached at the WTO’s 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, including those on special and differential treatment, fisheries subsidies, food security, and the WTO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and preparedness for future pandemics.

Africa had planned the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to build an integrated market of 1.4 billion consumers and entrepreneurs but the COVID-19 pandemic has set Africa back several decades on poverty reduction, education, and job creation and brought back familiar problems related to debt distress, Iweala said.