• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will pledge Japan’s support for building a key road connecting four African countries when he joins an international conference on African development to be held in Cameroon on Sunday and Monday, a government source said Tuesday.

Kishida will likely announce that Japan will bear part of the construction cost through its official development assistance at the two-day ministerial meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, the source said. The foreign minister is scheduled to arrive in Cameroon on Saturday following his visit to Denmark.

The envisioned road will connect western Ghana and the three surrounding countries — Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso — the source said. The Foreign Ministry sees high potential for economic growth in the four African countries.

Japan aims to encourage Japanese firms to expand business in Africa by assisting in improvement of local infrastructure. The support is also apparently aimed at boosting Japan’s influence on the continent at a time when China is gaining presence with hefty economic aid.

The construction cost of the road will be determined following a field survey which may start by the end of this year, the source said, adding that Tokyo plans to allocate some portion of about ¥650 billion it pledged for improving infrastructure in Africa at the TICAD meeting in Yokohama last year.

After attending the TICAD meeting, Kishida will fly to France to attend a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic and Development Cooperation.

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