AfDB President Urges Japanese to Invest in Africa
After visiting Osaka in the first leg of his visit Japan, the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, on Monday, April 5, 2010, headed to Tokyo, the nation’s capital, where he held discussions with the head of the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Hiroshi Watanabe, and officials of the Asian Development Bank. JBIC co-finances several projects with the AfDB, especially in the area of infrastructure development. The two officials explored possibilities for greater collaboration between their institutions. The JBIC head is currently focusing on financing environment-friendly projects which are part of efforts at checking global warming. The environment is one area on which the Bank is focusing; an area in which both institutions could step up their cooperation.
Mr. Kaberuka and his delegation also met with the Japanese media. The event, organized by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan enabled the AfDB president to highlight the objective of his visit to Japan. “I am here to urge you to invest in Africa,” he said, stressing that the visit was part of efforts to strengthen Africa’s partnership with Asia. In this regard, Mr. Kaberuka recalled his previous visits to the region. He had, in previous visits to India and China, underscored the AfDB’s role as a tool of choice for Asian partners. After commending the partnership with Japan and Japan’s importance as a member country of the Bank Group, Mr. Kaberuka said he would like to see more Japanese investors in Africa. Convincing Japanese businesspeople and authorities of the reason for this appeal is primary objective of this visit.
Speaking to the foreign media, Mr. Kaberuka focused on why Africa was the continent of the future where there are great business opportunities for Japanese businesspeople. These opportunities are in the science, technology and energy domains.
Prospects for a general capital increase
Mr. Kaberuka also said that his visit to Japan was an opportunity for him to “discuss the prospects for a general capital increase for the AfDB with Japanese authorities.” He explained that a general capital increase would enable the institution he leads to meet the increasing request from the most fragile states. He recalled the role the AfDB played to meet the needs of African countries during the global financial crisis. This, he said, was in line with decisions taken by the G8 and G20 at the beginning of the crisis. He stressed that African countries counted on the AfDB and the continent’s leading development finance institution stood by its client countries during their hour of need. He pointed to development programmes which were in need of financing, underscoring the private sector’s expanding role. These two reasons, he stressed, justify the need for a general capital increase for the AfDB.