The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has pledged $30 billion (€30.1 billion) over three years in an apparent effort to counter China’s rising influence on the continent.
This followed Beijing’s plan to increase its influence in Africa with major investments as observers raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of some African nations’ borrowing from China.
Kashida disclosed this while addressing the conference by live video in Tunisia after a recent positive COVID-19 test.
In his address, he vowed, “Japan will invest both public and private funds worth $30 billion over the next three years” across the continent.
The prime minister said the funding “includes up to $1 billion in a new special quota to be established by Japan to promote debt consolidation reforms.”
Kishida said Tokyo was prepared to finance up to $5 billion alongside the African Development Bank.
Of the funds, $300 million will co-finance the African Development Bank to boost food production as global supplies of grain and wheat fall well short of demand due to the war in Ukraine.
Another $100 million was earmarked for the host country, Tunisia, to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Kishida also spoke of the need to protect the rules-based international order after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Tunisian President Kais Saied hailed Japan’s history of providing development aid. “The world cannot continue as it was,” Saied said. “With all its wealth and assets, Africa cannot watch its people live through poverty.”