South africa – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to pledge more than $14b in aid and trade deals during his week-long visit to Africa.
He is also hoping to secure energy resources and increase exports. Abe’s first stop is Oman, before he visits three fast-growing economies - Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Mozambique.
According to BBC Africa Business Report, the visit is seen as a step by Japan to compete with China in the new scramble for African resources.
In Ethiopia, he is to announce plans for a geo-thermal plant, which reinforces the country’s growing renewable energy profile. Mozambique recently made huge gas and coal discoveries and Japan is one of many investors scouting deals there.
Although Ivory Coast is recovering after the end of a long period of conflict and political instability, it provides a gateway into French-speaking Africa, a region that’s still relatively untapped by most foreign players. The BBC said the backdrop to this visit is China, which has become the largest investor in Africa, with five times as much trade with the continent as the Japanese.
Last year, Abe hosted a three-day conference on African development, at which he pledged $32b in aid, including money to tackle militant Islamists. At the time, he said that African countries would be at the centre of global economic growth in the coming years and so Japan should increase its economic ties to the continent.