AfDB President woos Japanese private businesses to Africa

24/03/2016
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The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday, March 24, 2016 began a two-day visit in Tokyo, where he applauded the government’s support to the Bank and underscored the need for more investments by Japanese private sector entities in Africa.

Leading a team of senior Bank staff, Adesina met with the Governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda; the President of Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka; the Executive Vice-President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Katsumi Hirano; and several other business leaders.

He thanked the government for the immense support to the AfDB and to Africa, noting that the Bank will continue to count on the country in the forth-coming replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the Group established in 1972.

Japan is the third largest shareholder of the AfDB after Nigeria and the United States in the first and second position respectively. Japan is also a key contributor to the ADF.

For instance, JICA, which is Japan’s bilateral agency for official development assistance, has been forthcoming in the Bank’s co-financing programmes, contributing US $2 billion to the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) and official development assistance to the tune  of US $15 billion in 2014. It provides concession loans and technical cooperation grants through its 92 overseas offices, 26 of which are located in Africa.

Cooperation between Japan and Africa is expected to grow stronger as the continent continues to demonstrate resilience even in the face of global economic headwinds. Africa is expected to grow by 4.4% in 2016, above the 3.4% for the global economy and 2.6% for the USA. Adesina said that the Japanese private sector stood to gain by investing in quality infrastructure that Africa badly needs at this point especially in the energy, agriculture and even health sectors, adding that the Bank would play a supporting role by providing financial instruments to mitigate the risks such as partial credit guarantees (PCGs) and partial risk guarantees (PRGs). 

The implementation of the Bank’s High Five priorities (Light up and power Africa, feed Africa, integrate Africa, industrialize Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa) would certainly open up investment opportunities for companies determined to do business in Africa.

Besides, a recent study conducted by JETRO on Japanese-affiliated firms in the Middle East and Africa, showed that 56% of Japanese companies were working well and 85% of companies intended to expand their businesses within the next two years.

On the occasion of the Tokyo visit, President Adesina and the Bank delegation took a ride on the 15-kilometre Yurikamome rail Mass Transit System on Tokyo Bay to assess its viability as a possible solution to mass transport and urbanization challenges across Africa.

The team also visited the Bank’s Representation Office for Asia (ASRO), which opened in Tokyo in 2012 as a bridge between Africa and the Bank’s four Asian non-regional member countries – China, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Members of the Bank delegation include, Tomoya Asano, the Executive Director for Japan, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Brazil and Argentina; Kevin Urama, Senior Adviser to the President; Kapil Kapoor, Acting Vice-President, Sector Operations; Sipho Moyo, Director of Cabinet and Chief of Staff; Desire Vencatachellum, Director, Resource Mobilization and External Finance Department; Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industries Department; Felix Njoku, Communications Officer; and Caroline Manlan, Officer in Charge of the Asia Desk. From Tokyo, President Adesina and some members of the delegation will visit South Korea and China.