Tokyo plans to supply $2 billion over the next five years for Japanese firms to carry out natural resource development projects in African nations, trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Saturday.

At the first Japan-Africa Ministerial Meeting for Resources Development held in Tokyo on Saturday, Japan also announced plans to foster 1,000 African workers in natural resource-related fields. Ministerial-level officials from 15 African nations attended the meeting.

The meeting came ahead of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which will be held in Yokohama from June 1 to 3. Motegi will report the outcome of Saturday’s meeting at the conference.

“(Japan) not only wants to develop coal mines (in Africa) and import natural resources, but also hope to support Africa to grow independently,” Motegi said.

The government also plans to up infrastructure development, including electricity and railroads, boost mine safety and environment protection around mines.

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