The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday, 24 March 2016 began a two-day visit in Tokyo where he applauded the government’s support to the Bank and underscored the need for more Japanese private investments in Africa.
Leading a team of senior Bank staff, Adesina met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda; the President of Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), Shinichi Kitaoka; the Chair of the Sasakawa Group, Jiro Hanyu and the Executive Vice President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Katsumi Hirano, as well as 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, the concessional window of the Bank 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; as well as the highest 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 can only grow stronger as the continent continues to demonstrate resilience to internal and external shocks while posting an appreciable 4.5% growth projected to even rise further above global trends despite the fall in commodity prices and other difficulties.
AfDB President said 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 buying down some of the risks associated with the African private sector.
The implementation of the Bank’s High 5s 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 55.6% of the respondents intend to expand their business in the next one of two years. Another 52.3% produced a surplus.
President Adesina and the team used the opportunity to take a ride on the 15-KM 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) 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.
Key members of the team that will also visit South Korea and China 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-Industry Department, and Caroline Manlan, Officer in Charge of Asia Desk, among others.