Recently, the government of Japan, specifically Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has pledged to give $32 billion to Africa in aid funding. The government has announced their plan to support Africa’s future growth in the upcoming years, and hopes that their gift of $32 billion to Africa will make a significant difference. The total of $32 billion to Africa will be given through both public and private means. This donation will include other resources, such as ODA, or official developmental assistance, that will total $16 billion. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that they will also give $2 billion of trade insurance, which together, comprises an incredible gift. Trade insurance is a product that allows for risk management that will enable Africa to protect themselves when trading. At this point, Africa wishes to have the most focus on the development of health, agriculture, and general infrastructure. PM Shinzo Abe has acknowledged this wish, as well as the focus on human capacities.
On Saturday, June 1st, 2013, Yokohama, Japan held the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD V. $6.5 billion of the $32 billion to Africa will be allocated in order to build up African infrastructure by creating “international corridors.” These international corridors will connect areas that are landlocked, such as in the middle of Africa, with the African coasts, as well as with power grids. The conference itself involved various Heads of States in Africa, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and the Head of State of Japan. The Head of State of Japan noted that the country will focus on human resources in order to match the labor market demands.
During the conference, the Head of State of Japan also announced the ABE Initiative, or the Africa business Initiative for the Youth. This initiative will focus on education towards African students who are undergraduates or graduates. It will allow them to study and work in Japan, as interns within companies in Japan. The $32 billion to Africa will also go towards creating “hubs for human resource development.” These hubs will be located in 10 different field locations within Africa, including within Ethiopia as well as Senegal. Japan will also send their own citizens to these hubs, who are experts in vocational training. Part of the strategy includes the advancement of universal health coverage in Africa. PM Abe wants to make a “Japan Brand” in Africa, and wants part of that brand to include the notion of universal health coverage.
Another point that PM Abe made was that he encouraged Africa to move to a program that was branded as “Aikawa,” which is a move away from agriculture that only serves as a way for farmers to eat, and towards a program where farmers can make money. The Aikawa method is created after Mr. Jiro Aikawa, a former volunteer from Japan. Jiro Aikawa taught farmers to sell excess produce in Tanzania and Kenya. The current title of this method is “SHEP” or the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Project.
In the future, Japan wants to help foster peace between different Africa countries, by using Japan Self-Defence Forces. Another part of this includes fostering “human security” in Africa. Japan will be helping in multiple other areas, as well, including helping Liberia in power and road infrastructure, as well as fish processing for export.
Overall, Japan is giving $32 billion to Africa, but they are giving much more than money. They are providing assistance in multiple different ways to help Africa become peaceful and sustainable. This is definitely a “win” for the reduction of global poverty.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: McClatchy DC, allAfrica, Bloomberg