By JAMES KUNDA
JAPAN has set aside US$2 billion for loans to the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) over the next five years, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said.
Mr Abe said the loans were availed to EPSA because it was created in conjunction with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to foster the development of the private sector in Africa.
He announced this development in a policy speech at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday during his State visit.
The visit is a follow up to last year’s Fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) when Mr Abe pledged to provide $3.2 billion support to Africa.
“In 2012, we made a commitment to provide loans of up to $1 billion over five years. We have now revised that to double the amount of loans we will provide over the same period to $2 billion,” Mr Abe said.
He said Africa had become the continent that carried the hopes of the world through latent potential of its resources and its dynamic economic growth.
Mr Abe said to impart a lasting force for living up to these hopes, it was important for each individual in Africa to have confidence in their own abilities.
He said women should participate in sustaining growth for Africa as that was the case with the Japanese economy.
“The Japanese economy could not have grown without women participation and I believe that the same thing can be said about the future of Africa,” Mr Abe said.
He hailed the cooperation between his country and the African Union (AU) pledging that Japan would support the efforts of the AU in providing the driving power to develop the continent.
This is the first trip to Africa by a Japanese premier since 2006 when the then Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, visited Ghana and Ethiopia.