Ministers from Japan and 16 African countries agreed Saturday to enhance cooperation in developing natural resources while addressing issues that have prevented foreign investment in the fast-growing continent.
Japan has been aggressively involved in financial assistance as well as human resource development in Africa.
“Japanese manufacturers cannot operate without a stable supply from resource-rich countries,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yoichi Miyazawa told a meeting in Tokyo that is seen as an opportunity for Japan to discuss measures to secure imports of mineral resources such as gold and manganese.
In 2013, when the ministerial talks were held for the first time, Japan said it would contribute a total of $2 billion over the following five years to back Japanese companies involved in the development of resources in Africa. But officials said there are problems that are slowing this investment, an apparent reference to low productivity and governance issues at local firms.
Japan is aiming to address these problems through bilateral as well as multilateral efforts, particularly at the next session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development scheduled for next year.
Saturday’s meeting was attended by representatives from Angola, Botswana, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.