Sunday morning’s Nikkei and Yomiuri gave top play to reports that PM Abe announced during his keynote speech at the opening of the TICAD on Saturday that Japan will mobilize a total of 3 trillion yen in private- and public-sector funds to invest in Africa from 2016 to 2018 to promote high-quality infrastructure development. Japan will also be engaged in the training of about 10 million people, including engineers and experts on infectious diseases. Nikkei wrote that since there is a limit to the amount of investment Japan can provide, Japan will highlight the quality of its infrastructure and human resource development in order to compete with China. The paper said Japan has shifted its focus from providing aid to promoting investment in Africa.
In follow-up reports, all Monday morning papers wrote that in concluding the two-day conference on Sunday, the participants adopted the Nairobi Declaration highlighting greater collaboration between Japan and Africa for realizing “sustainable economic diversification” on the continent and combating Ebola and other diseases. The declaration also underscored the importance of maintaining the maritime order based on international law and the need to overhaul the Security Council and other UN entities.
The dailies explained that PM Abe trumpeted the “high quality” of Japanese economic and technological assistance to mark a sharp contrast with the “sheer volume” of aid offered to Africa by China. A number of Japanese business leaders accompanied the premier to display Japan’s commitment to mobilizing public and private resources for African development. Some 20 Japanese firms and organizations signed a total of 73 memoranda of understanding for business investment. Tokyo’s pro-Africa policy also reportedly reflected its desire to enlist support for reforming the UNSC to obtain permanent membership. Abe held meetings with the leaders of 12 African nations on the margins to call attention to Japan’s interest in the region.