The Japanese government has promised to help in Africa’s economic development by doubling aid to the continent over the next five years.
This was revealed Wednesday by Yasuo Fukuda, Japan’s prime minister during his opening speech at the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
President Paul Kagame is also attending the three-day event together with some 40 other African heads of state.
“What we are about to do now is open a new page,” Fukuda said while calling this new page the, “Century of African Growth.”
The conference whose theme is, “Towards a vibrant Africa: A continent of hope and opportunity,” is focusing on three priorities.
These are - boosting economic growth; ensuring Human Security, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and consolidation of peace and democratization; and addressing environmental issues and climate change.
In what many analysts see as a continuous effort to seek closer ties with Africa, Fukuda pledged to provide up to $4 billion inloans to Africa over the next five years to improve African infrastructure. He pointed out that developing transportation infrastructure was key to raising economic growth in Africa.
Japan will double grant aid and technical assistance over the next five years as well. In fostering Japanese businesses in Africa, Fukuda also said Japan would dispatch a large-scale economic mission this year, comprising leaders from the public and private sector.
TICAD is held every five years since 1993 and this is the fourth time the Tokyo Conference is held. It has become a major global framework for Asia and Africa to collaborate in promoting Africa’s development.
The summit-level event is this year’s largest international conference on African development.