Kenyatta: Japan-Africa Business Deals Have Potential To Transform Africa

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that a summit of African government and business leaders with their Japanese counterparts had “the potential to transform the African continent.” Kenyatta made the remarks at the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi.

Resource-poor Japan has long been interested in tapping Africa’s vast natural resources, even more so since dependence on oil and natural gas imports jumped after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster shut almost all of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

Kenyatta’s comments came a day after his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told delegates Tokyo would commit $30 billion in public and private support for infrastructure development, education and healthcare expansion in the continent.

The $30 billion announced on Saturday (August 27) is in addition to $32 billion that Japan pledged to Africa over a five-year period at the last TICAD meeting in 2013. Abe said 67 percent of that had already been put to use in various projects.

Japan’s overall direct investment in Africa totalled $1.24 billion in 2015, down from about $1.5 billion a year earlier, according to the Japan External Trade Organization, which does not provide a breakdown of sectors. Its presence in infrastructure projects ranges from roads, ports and airports to power plants.

In comparison, rival China made a single investment of $2 billion in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea in the month of April 2015 alone. Read more on this here.