Govt decide ¥87 bil. in assistance to African countries

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development is held in Yokohama in August 2019.

The government has decided to provide a total of ¥87 billion in assistance to 26 African countries for addressing the food crisis and improving health care systems.

The aid package is part of a series of government support measures that were decided from April onwards for African countries in preparation for the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), to be held in Tunisia on Aug. 27 and 28.

TICAD is a triennial conference led by the Japanese government to discuss development and support for Africa. The government hopes to gain momentum by offering proactive support ahead of the conference.

The food situation in many parts of Africa has worsened since February when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine as many countries are reliant on wheat, corn and other crops from Ukraine. An estimated 30% of Africa’s population, or 346 million people, are facing severe food shortages, observers said.

The government therefore decided Wednesday to provide more than ¥5 billion in food aid to 19 countries, including Burundi and Madagascar.

On Aug. 10, the government decided to provide ¥400 million to South Sudan, where more than 7.74 million people are facing food shortages, with 87,000 reportedly in a severe state of starvation.

In the area of health and medical systems to strengthen measures against infectious diseases, the government plans to provide about ¥27.5 billion to three countries including Senegal. It also will grant about ¥30 billion to Burkina Faso and four other countries to construct new schools, bridges and other facilities.

China has been stepping up its financing drive in Africa through its Belt and Road Initiative, a vision to create a huge economic zone. With this in mind, the government intends to seek African nations’ understanding of the importance of aid transparency.