Japanese official affirms support for growth-oriented Africa on visit to AfDB

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Japan’s vice-minister of finance for international affairs, Mr Takehiko Nakao, visited the African Development Bank (AfDB) on 8 March 2012, and held talks with the AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka, on various issues related to development in Africa.

He noted the fact that the African economy was growing and affirmed Japan’s confidence in the continent’s future.  Mr Nakao said:  “Africa is currently growing again with better policies and it is high time for Japan to refocus on the continent.”  

The talks touched upon private sector promotion, infrastructure, education and progress in medical care in Africa.  Mr Kaberuka and Mr Nakao also discussed the best way forward in partnering to promote development in Africa through targeted support for poorer populations.

Both of them noted that domestic demand had improved on the continent, and confirmed the need for stronger support for both the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) and Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA).

The minister and his delegation expressed their appreciation for the support of the AfDB and its staff on the occasion of the earthquake in northeast Japan on 11 March 2011.

Japan began its cooperation with the AfDB Group in 1973 with the African Development Fund and then with the African Development Bank in 1982.

Referring to the latest phase in this cooperation between the AfDB and Japan, Mr Nakao said: "We appreciate the opening of the Bank’s office in Tokyo and we will make the best use of it to promote Africa’s development."

Mr Nakao pronounced it was ‘excellent’ that AfDB reports indicated that the first phase of the EPSA (2005-2010) had provided USD 1 billion in concessional finance, and that the target had been reached on time and on budget.

The Third Non-Sovereign Loan for Private Sector Assistance for USD 110 million was signed in October 2011. Japanese Cooperation (JICA) and the AfDB have started working on co-financing activities under revised sovereign co-financing guidelines signed in February 2012.

For its part, FAPA provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building for the AfDB’s public and private sector clients.

The discussions with Mr Kaberuka were held in the presence of the Executive Director for Japan, Masahiro Kan and the Japanese ambassador to Tunisia, Toshiyuki Taga.