The need to strengthen the trade relationship between Africa and Japan was the subject of discussion at the Japan-AfDB Forum at the on-going 2016 Annual Meetings. With the theme: “Energy Access and Quality Infrastructure in Africa”, the forum did not only assess the volume of trade relationship between Africa and Japan but also prescribe ways of improving on it.
It is estimated that Africa-Japan trade is about $25 billion, with the continent becoming increasingly viable for the Asian country.
Koji Yonetani, Executive Vice President, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) says more than half of Japanese companies operating in Africa are willing to expand if the right infrastructure and environment. is created and the much- needed infrastructure.
Japan is the third largest shareholder of the AfDB after Nigeria and the United States. The country is the highest contributor to the ADF, the Bank Group’s concessional lending arm. Japan’s bilateral agency for official development assistance, JICA, has been forthcoming in the Bank’s co-financing programmes, contributing US$2 billion to the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) and the Official Development Assistance to the tune of US$ 15 billion in 2014. It provides concessional loans and technical cooperation grants through its 92 overseas offices, 26 of which are located in Africa.
Japan’s pledge to help Africa realize its Light Up and Power Africa as well as the Industrialize Africa goals of the High 5s through quality infrastructure moved a step closer to fulfilment at the Lusaka 2016 meetings.
By Pita Ochai