Previously published as: Abe Offers $32 Billion to Africa as Japan Seeks Resources Access – By Isabel Reynolds and Takashi Hirokawa
Tanzania's president Jakaya Kikwete, left, is welcomed by Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on May 30, 2013. Photographer: Franck Robichon/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged 3.2 trillion yen ($32 billion) to Africa today as his government seeks to catch up with China in pursuing resources, markets and influence on the continent.
Abe announced the five-year commitment of public and private support in a speech today at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Officials from about 50 nations are attending the meeting, held every five years, which is the biggest African development event outside the continent since it began in 1993.
Africa’s economic growth is luring Japanese exporters, while the government wants to tap the natural gas and oil there after the 2011 Fukushima disaster led to the closing of Japan’s nuclear plants. Chinese firms fueled $138.6 billion in China-Africa trade in 2011, nearly five times Japan’s commerce with the continent, according to the Foreign Ministry, citing International Monetary Fund data.