Japan Promises Billions of Dollars at the African Investment Conference
The 8th annual Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) was held in Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, on August 27th and August 28th. According to Tunisian diplomatic sources, attendees included 48 African representatives including at least 20 heads of state or government.
In his opening speech, Tunisian President Kais Saied urged delegates to “search together for ways for African peoples to achieve the hopes and dreams of the first generation after independence.”
He stated that “the world cannot continue as it was,” praising Japan’s strong track record of development and “preserving” its culture. “With all of its wealth and assets, Africa cannot stand by and watch its people suffer in poverty.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking via live video, during the conference, promised that “Japan will invest both public and private funds worth $30 billion across Africa over the next three years.”
“We will provide up to $5 billion in co-financing with the African Development Bank to improve the lives of Africans,” he said.
The pledge comes as China expands its influence on the continent through its “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative. Experts are concerned about the long-term viability of some African countries borrowing from Beijing.
According to the Japanese prime minister, Japan’s initiative “includes up to $1 billion in a new special quota to be established by Japan to promote debt consolidation reforms” in Africa.
He also promised $300 million in co-financing with the African Development Bank to boost food production, pledging to assist African countries in dealing with grain shortages caused by the conflict in Ukraine, a major wheat producer.
According to a slick video, the conference aimed to promote “African development led by African people.” However, no journalists from African news outlets were granted access to delegates before the event, except for Tunisian state media and Japanese journalists.