Japan announces $10bn infrastructure boost for Africa

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
31 August 2016

Japan has announced it will provide around $10bn to improve infrastructure in Africa.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe said a three-year infrastructure plan would focus on modernising electricity, power and urban transport systems.

Abe announced the funding during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, last week.

He said the aim was to increase electricity generation capacity by 2,000 megawatts to reach 3m households by 2022.

“It will be necessary to develop roads and ports,” he said. “This must be nothing other than quality infrastructure.”

A portion of the cash will be channelled through the African Development Bank (AfDB), which said the investment would be based on the Japanese work ethos of “kaizen”, or continuous learning. Engineers will receive training and there will be opportunities to study in Japan. “This is a system aiming to advance Africa’s industrialisation through higher economic productivity,” said the bank.

At TICAD president of the AfDB Akinwumi Adesina outlined a “roadmap towards the transformation of agriculture in Africa”, which would focus on combating malnutrition in children and turning farmlands into major suppliers of food for export.

Adesina said the bank had earmarked $24bn for onward lending to financial institutions over the next decade to aid agricultural industrialisation and help farmers make use of new technologies.

“It will take more than one person to transform agriculture,” said Adesina. “It is time to get agriculture right as a business.”

Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwandan minister of agriculture and animal resources, told the conference had managed to implement measures to develop agriculture despite limited resources.

“When you have limited resources, you have to use unconventional means to move forward,” she said. “We did this by training farmers who trained other farmers. We got people to increase the extension services to farmers and incorporated farmers into cooperative organisations to enhance their access to finance. This has helped us move forward.”

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