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AfDB Delegation Visits Japan To Boost Investment In Africa

A HIGH-LEVEL delegation from the African Development Bank (AfDB) will visit Japan from June 17-21 to promote investment opportunities in key African sectors and strengthen partnerships with the Japanese government and corporations. The delegation is led by three vice presidents: Kevin Kariuki, Solomon Quaynor, and Kevin Urama.

Joining them are Takaaki Nomoto, the Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Austria, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, and Yacine Fal, the Bank president’s Special Representative to the Africa Investment Forum. The visit aims to build momentum for the 9th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD9) scheduled for 2025.

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Strengthening partnerships

The delegation’s visit is expected to solidify the partnership between the African Development Bank, the Japanese government, and Japan’s private sector, paving the way for increased investment and collaboration in Africa’s promising sectors ahead of TICAD9.

A cornerstone of the mission is the Japan-Africa Business Forum 2024, co-organised by the AfDB and Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), set for June 18 in Tokyo. Themed Exploring Investment Risks in Africa: Unveiling the True Potential and Challenges,  the Forum will highlight the growing partnership between the two organizations, which signed a statement of intent in 2022 to strengthen Japan-Africa business ties.

The delegation will also engage with Japanese business leaders, academia, and the Ministry of Finance to explore further cooperation and investment opportunities in sectors where Africa has a competitive advantage.

Key focus areas

During the forum, Kevin Urama, the Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, will present findings from the African Economic Outlook, the AfDB’s flagship report, showcasing Africa’s investment landscape.

Solomon Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, will lead a session on Africa’s thriving startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem, emphasising the Bank’s and investors’ roles in nurturing its growth.

Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change, and Green Growth, will discuss green infrastructure project structuring in Africa and the Bank’s initiatives in this area, underscoring the continent’s potential for sustainable investment.

Yacine Fal will give a preview of the Africa Investment Forum, highlighting its importance in catalysing investment across key sectors.

Building on success

The mission builds on the successful visit of AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina to Japan in April 2023, where he advocated for increased Japanese investment in Africa and highlighted successful Japanese ventures on the continent.

During that visit, Ken Shibusawa, Chairperson of Keizai Doyukai’s Middle East/Africa-Japan Relations Committee, announced the formation of a fund, &Capital, to support early-stage African companies. The AfDB and &Capital have since established a partnership that aligns with the Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks initiative, demonstrating Shibusawa’s strong commitment to investing in Africa.

Historical context and future goals

This visit also builds on the outcomes of TICAD8 held in Tunisia in August 2022, where Japan and the AfDB announced a $5bn financial cooperation under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) initiative.

It follows the Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days, which drew over 80 representatives from 40 Japanese entities, indicating the growing interest of Japanese businesses in Africa’s dynamic markets and youthful entrepreneurial population.

The AfDB delegation’s visit to Japan marks a significant step towards fostering deeper economic ties and investment flows between Africa and Japan, aiming to unlock the vast potential within Africa’s key sectors and drive sustainable development across the continent.

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