BY NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA REPORTERJapanese Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ryuji Yamane, has expressed his country’s readiness to further continue its official development assistance to Africa amidst the tough Fukushima reconstruction effort.
Ryuji recently told African and Middle East Journalists who are visiting the country that Japan would further strengthen its development assistance to Africa through its cooperation programmes including the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which is held every five years since 1993.
Though the people and government of Japan understand that they need to devote on the reconstruction of the regions inundated by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred a year ago, there is a general consensus among the Japanese public that Japan should continue its development assistance to Africa.
Recalling that the TICAD IV which was held in Yokohama, Japan from 28 to 30 May, 2008, adopted a resolution calling for pulling forces of all African counties and partners, the senior vice Minister said that Japan has extended significant assistance to African countries as part of this effort.
The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), a Summit-level international policy forum that brought 51 African countries, 74 international and regional organizations, private sector, civil society organizations and notable individuals together, is dedicated to African development, he said.
Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Global Communications Director Noriyuki Shikata also said that the three pillars of Japan’s policy toward Africa are contribution to peace and stability, expansion of development assistance as well as trade and investment and addressing global challenges.
According to Shikata, as part of its effort to peace and stability Japan has so far contributed its share to the stabilization of Somalia and dispatched International Peace Cooperation Corps (Engineering Unit) to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) as well as provided support to the enhancement of global peace keeping capabilities at various occasions.
Indicating that Japan pledged to provide 1.8 USD development assistance to Africa doubling ODA to the continent by 2012, however he said, it has provided up to 4 billion birr ODA loan to African countries in the five year period mainly to support infrastructure and agricultural development.
He also pointed out that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) established a fund to support the doubling of Japan’s private direct investment in Africa.
Shikata also indicated that preparations are well underway to hold TICAD V the coming June 2013 in Yokohama, Japan, where African leaders and international partners are expected to prioritize the continents development agendas.