Japan will pledge over 300 billion yen ($2.84 billion) in assistance to Africa at a development conference later this month, seeking to encourage transparent infrastructure development on the continent as China moves in.
With Beijing extending its clout on the continent through its Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative, Japan is eager to bolster its own role in the region through yen loans and a state-sponsored scholarship that will bring African students to Japan.
Japan and the African Development Bank have been helping with the development of infrastructure and private-sector companies through their Enhanced Private Sector Assistance Initiative. The next and fourth round will involve mainly yen-denominated loans.
The money will be disbursed over roughly three years as target countries tackle reforms. Japan will encourage recipients to open up to foreign investment and create legal frameworks that protect investors.
Japan plans to issue long-term, low-interest loans to local utilities and road companies jointly with the African Development Bank. The country pushed for quality infrastructure investment at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka this June. It will continue to champion that principle and avoid saddling countries with unrepayable levels of debt or allowing them to have a monopoly over infrastructure built.