Japan plans to allocate $30 billion on the development of African countries over the next three years, focusing on investment in human capital, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday.
Kishida made the pledge during a virtual address to a development conference (TICAD8) held in Tunis which some analysts view as a move intended to counter China’s growing influence on the continent.
“In the next three years, we will invest $30 billion for the development of African states,” the Prime Minister said in a video address to the attendees.
The pledge comes as China cements its influence on the continent with its “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative, while political observers express concern about the long-term sustainability of African nations’ borrowing from Beijing.
Kishida also indicated his willingness to strengthen cooperation with African countries in reforming the UN Security Council and realizing a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
At the conference, African Union Chairman and Senegalese President Macky Sall paid tribute to Africa’s “partnership” with Japan, praising “concrete results in the agriculture, health, education and water” sectors.
He motivated for the suspension of interest on debt owed to G20 countries, calling for a seat for the continent at the next G20 summit.