The African Development Bank President, AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has urged Japanese prospective investors to invest more in Africa where investment opportunities and returns on investment are among the highest in the world.
Adesina said this at the recently concluded 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8)
He, however, commended the Japanese government and private sector for their strong support of Africa’s development and told the Japanese to assess Africa’s investment opportunities based on facts and evidence, not on perceptions.
In his words, “In 2020, Moody’s Analytics performed a 10-year cumulative assessment of global infrastructure debt default rates, by region. It found that Africa was the region with the second lowest cumulative default rate, after the Middle East. That is proof once again that infrastructure as an asset class in Africa is solid, secure, and profitable.”
Twenty African heads of state attended the conference in the Tunisian capital of Tunis from the 27th to the 28th of August. Also in attendance were Japanese officials and business leaders, and heads of international organizations who also took part in the conference.
In his reaction by video link, Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida said Japan had achieved its goal of contributing $20 billion to Africa within the private sector, a goal it had set at TICAD7 in 2019.
Kishida also announced new commitments. He said Japan will provide co-financing of up to $5 billion, together with the African Development Bank, in order to improve the lives of African people.
Also, Senegal’s President Macky Sall said Japanese corporations have the “technological and financial capacity needed to set up partnerships in Africa in sectors such as infrastructure, transportation and housing.”
On his part, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed commended the foresight of Japan’s leadership in establishing TICAD in 1993.
She warned about the scale of the challenges currently facing Africa, adding “Thanks to platforms such as TICAD, we already have the partnerships in place to respond to these challenges in solidarity.”
The African Union Commission’s Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat lauded Japan for its efforts to build African capacity through education and training. He praised a Japanese initiative that has trained over 1000 young Africans in nutrition.
The African Development Bank chief said African countries would require significant financial resources to cope with the impacts of Covid-19, accelerating climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“This is the time to strongly support the African Adaptation Acceleration Program to mobilize $25 billion for climate adaptation for Africa, especially as we look forward to Cop-27 in Egypt,” Adesina said.
He said the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility, launched in May 2022, was providing $1.13 billion for 24 countries in financing an expected $1.5 billion for emergency food production. The African Development Bank fast-tracked approval of the facility earlier in 2022 to avert a potential food and fertilizer crisis arising from the war in Ukraine.