- POSTED: 15 Jan 2014 22:58
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has emphasised the significance of his tour in African countries this time as "a large springboard for Japan and Africa to be partners of growth in the 21st century."
TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has wrapped up his first trip to Africa where he visited Oman, Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
Mr Abe's visit to Africa is the first by a Japanese Prime Minister in eight years. Japan's absence during this period of time has seen the country lagged behind China in showing its presence in the continent.
In March 2013 during his first trip abroad as China's new head of state, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited three African countries to maintain strong ties and boost cooperation.
And last week, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Djibouti, Ghana, and Senegal.
Abe has emphasised the significance of his tour in African countries this time as "a large springboard for Japan and Africa to be partners of growth in the 21st century."
In Ethiopia's Africa Union headquarters, he gave his policy speech and pledged to focus more in investment rather than aide.
Abe tried to show that Japan will be more proactive in supporting the economic development of Africa.
He expressed his desire to bring Japanese corporate philosophy to educate the people and transfer Japanese technology.
During his trip, Abe expanded the loans which he pledged last year when Japan hosted an African development conference.
Japan will double the amount of low-interest yen loans to African countries to $2 billion over five years to help private sector development in Africa. The amount had been set at about $1 billion over five years, starting in 2012.
"In order to respond to conflicts and disasters in Africa, Japan is now preparing to implement assistance of approximately US$320 million. This includes, for example, US$3 million in support for the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic," said Abe.
In addition, Japan will also implement humanitarian assistance towards the Central African Republic.
Abe added Japan is also preparing to implement assistance of approximately US$25 million to respond to the deteriorating situation in South Sudan.
Abe has positioned Africa as a frontier for Japan and is keen to capitalise on the continent's rich natural resources and high economic growth to help support his economic policies, better known as Abenomics.
In order to increase the flow of people between the two countries, an agreement was reached to launch a direct flight between Japan and Ethiopia.
However, analysts are not so optimistic Japan will be able to increase its presence in the frontier any time soon as legal matters need to be resolved first.
They added the competition with China for influence on the African continent will remain an uphill struggle for Japan.