Japan pledged to contribute $30 billion over three years to support Africa’s development and economy, aiming to strengthen cooperation with Africa amid China’s growing influence.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “Japan aims to be a partner that grows together with Africa.” virtual address I will attend the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development on Saturday.
Of these funds, Kishida said Japan will invest more than 10 billion yen ($72 million) in African startups and train 300,000 Africans in various fields over three years for human resource development. said to provide.
The Japanese government will also provide $130 million in food aid and co-finance a $300 million loan with the African Development Bank to boost food production amid the global food and energy crisis. is.
“Through these measures, Japan will cooperate with Africa and actively contribute to Africa’s development based on African ownership.”
China abandons loans from Africa
Japan’s move came as China announced on Aug. 18 that it would give up 23 interest-free loans to 17 African countries maturing in 2021.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi argued that this was a concrete action by the Chinese regime to promote “high-quality Belt and Road cooperation”. This is a global infrastructure project that critics have denounced as a “debt trap” for small countries.
According to the China-Africa Research Initiative database, Between 2000 and 2019, Chinese financiers signed 1,141 loan agreements worth $153 billion with African governments and their state-owned enterprises.
Economist Davy Jun Huang said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) timed the abandonment of the loan in line with its objective of gaining diplomatic support from African countries.
The CCP’s debt collector diplomacy has predatory means (pdf), local mines, power plants and access rights to ports will be included in the economic aspects of the loan, Huang said.
“There are different percentages of low-interest and interest-free loans when signing contracts. Interest-free loans are designed primarily based on political needs,” he said.
Huang expects new forms of debt, with loan forgiveness and closed-door trade negotiations, to only add to the dire situation for these African nations.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visit south africa On August 8, the United States launched its Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy. The strategy outlines her four priorities for the United States, working with regional partners in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years.
Blinken said the US Development Finance Corporation will allocate $300 million in funding to develop and operate data centers across the region, including South Africa.
G7 countries also announced in June that they would raise $600 billion over the next five years for a global infrastructure program that would serve as a “positive alternative” to the model of selling “debt traps.” did.
Mary Hong contributed to this report.