TOKYO – Japan and Kenya agreed on Wednesday to promote infrastructure development and cooperate to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
In the African country, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to accelerate the development of a special economic zone around the Mombasa port, a key gateway to East and Central Africa constructed with Japanese assistance, the ministry said.
Motegi said Japan sees the major port as a good example of infrastructure and expressed willingness to convene a public-private bilateral business dialogue to promote investments in Kenya by Japanese companies, it said.
Kenyatta said Japan can rely on Kenya’s support to realize the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, it said. The concept was first unveiled at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016.
Tokyo is promoting its vision to ensure the rule of law, freedom of navigation and enhance regional connectivity through cooperation in infrastructure amid China’s rising influence, including over Africa.
Motegi and Kenyatta also confirmed their cooperation on the next round of TICAD to be held in Tunisia in 2022, it said.
With the visit to Kenya, Motegi wraps up an 11-day tour of Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Senegal. He will return to Japan on Thursday.
Motegi’s Africa tour follows trips to Tunisia, Mozambique, South Africa and Mauritius in December last year, and came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi traveled to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles through Saturday.