YOKOHAMA – African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has called on Japanese companies to be “bolder” about making investments in Africa.
There are major business opportunities for Japanese firms in Africa in such fields as energy, medicine and digital industries, Adesina suggested in an interview Friday.
“I recognize Japanese companies have not invested as much as they thought in Africa,” said the AfDB chief, who attended the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD 7, in Yokohama through Friday.
One of the factors behind the slow Japanese investment is the view that business in Africa involves high risks, he noted.
While pointing out that business risks exist everywhere, even in Japan, Adesina said the issue is “how to estimate risks and how you manage risks,” not risks themselves.
During TICAD, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the country’s plan to expand private-sector investment in Africa.
On the heavy debts owed by some African countries, an issue taken up at the conference, Adesina said that Africa is not experiencing a debt crisis, but at the same time he said debt transparency is needed.
Adesina explained that most of the public debts in African nations are associated with the development of infrastructure, underscoring his intention to attract private-sector funds for infrastructure projects.
Later in the interview, the AfDB chief voiced concerns about a possible drop in demand from China for natural resources produced in Africa amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
“I think African countries are well positioned to continue to grow well” if there are no such factors, he said.