Japanese PM on three-nation African tour

13 January 2014

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is making a three-nation visit to Africa this month in an effort to build commercial ties, particularly in the area of natural resources, while giving impetus to aid commitments made at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD V, which was held in Yokohama in June last year.

Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to tour Africa since Junichiro Koizumi in 2006 and will visit Côte d’ Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia between January 10 and 14.

Prior to the African leg of the mission, Abe made a stop in Oman, where stable supply of energy was said to be high on the agenda.

The Japanese government said a key objective for the visit included establishing partnerships with Africa through mutual exchange with African leaders and improving prospects for commercial relations.

Abe is particularly keen to support Japanese companies interested in investing in African natural resources prospects, as well as those keen on tapping new growth markets and participating in infrastructure projects.

But the Prime Minister would also seek to demonstrate how Japan was implementing the TICAD V assistance package for Africa, which covers areas such as agriculture, health, education and human resource development.

At the gathering, which was attended by 37 heads of State and government, Japan unveiled a $32-billion, five-year plan focusing on peace and stability, building sustainable economies and promoting inclusive and resilient societies. The package included $1-billion in development, humanitarian and security assistance for the fractious Sahel region.

By Terence Creamer
Photo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

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