Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) has signed a $700.9 million loan agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) designed to provide development assistance on the continent.
The loan is part of Japan’s contribution to the African Development Fund’s 14th Replenishment (ADF-14). This is the first JICA loan provided to the African Development Fund (ADF).
“The loan will provide AfDB with resources to support recipient countries during the ADF-14 period (January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019), and contribute to economic growth as well as poverty alleviation in Africa’s least developed countries,” said the AfDB.
The bank’s president Dr Akinwumi Adesina acknowledged the landmark event and expressed his institution’s gratitude and appreciation to the Japanese government.
While signing the notes of exchange Dr Adesina said: “Thanks to Japan and its government for keeping a promise. One often hears about many international pledges of development cooperation remaining unfilled. I would like to commend the full accomplishment of Japan’s commitments to Africa’s development.
“With its $700 million loan, which came on top of $328 million in the form of a grant, Japan has significantly contributed to the ADF commitment capacity for the period 2017-2019.”
He stated that Japan was a longstanding development partner for Africa, with a significant portion of its aid commitments to the continent channelled through the AfDB group.
“Japan is the second-largest contributor to the ADF in cumulative terms, and it has increased its contributions significantly over time,” said Dr Adesina.
Speaking on the occasion, Japan’s Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Mr Hiroshi Kawamura said he was glad to sign the accord to bolster Africa’s socio-economic development.
“Our contributions to the ADF-14 replenishment will allow the government of Japan to increase its contributions to 7.3 percent, against 6.7 percent for the ADF-13,” he said.
The ADF is part of the AfDB Group and provides support primarily to least developed and poor countries in the form of very long-term, low-interest financing. In contrast, the AfDB, which is the other arm of the AfDB Group, provides financing to middle-income countries in Africa.
Since its inception in 1972, the AFD has conventionally received subscriptions in the form of grants from donor countries, including Japan, as a source of funding to achieve its development mandate.
During the negotiations of the 14th replenishment, the AFD offered donor countries the opportunity to include concessional loans within subscriptions to the fund for the very first time.