The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan are set to partner in Startups and major conglomerates to co- create an investment ecosystem and spur growth in Africa.
The idea of Africa-Japan co-creating an investment ecosystem began at the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8), held in August 2022.
During the meeting, AfDB President Dr. Adesina emphasized the need for increased Japanese investment and operations in Africa.
This followed up with a meeting to Japan in April 2023. The meeting sort to engage with senior government and business leaders. More so, entrepreneurs, and investors, on opportunities in Africa.
The AfDB Executive Director for Japan Takaaki Nomoto during the meeting affirmed the growing cooperation between Japan and Africa.
He further expressed optimism about Africa’s future owing to the ambition of its people. Likewise he also emphasized on private sector led development.
“I am one of the optimists on Africa’s growth. The power and ownership of African people on social issues are very similar to those of Japanese people when we tried to modernize after the Meiji restoration in 1868 and when we made rapid growth after World War II,” he stated.
Japan Relations with Africa
The meetings culminated to a Special Japan Room in Marrakech, Morocco held on 9 November on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days.
The Special Room was presented by a diverse group of startups and representatives of major Japanese companies.
AfDB aim to partner in startups and conglomerates. Likewise, they also aim to expand partnership and greater investment to spur sustainable inclusive growth across the continent.
Japanese companies are currently reaping lucrative returns from Africa’s enormous economic potential.
“Komatsu, the giant equipment company, generated revenue of $1 billion in 2020 in Africa,” Adesina said
According to AfDB President, Mitsubishi Corporation and Hitachi have been investing in energy in Africa since the early 20th century.
The President spokd during Boosting Africa’s growth with Japan: From Start-ups to Major Companies, a “Special Japan Room”
The high level event was attended by more than 80 representatives of 40 Japanese entities, startups, investment funds and major corporations and institutions looking to Africa for opportunity.
The African Development Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Austria and Saudi Arabia, Takaaki Nomoto, accompanied the delegation.
“Through strong public-private partnerships, faster growth of Japanese investments in Africa will occur.
Africa needs more venture capital and private equity funds to tap into its huge potential and Japan is paying attention,” Adesina stated.
These successes have spurred a new generation of Japanese venture capital funds to focus on small and medium African startups.
“The number of Japanese companies in Africa increased from 520 in 2010 to 900 in 2020,” Adesina stated.
Japan Displays Healthcare drones and low-carbon ammonia for fertilizers
CEOs and principals in the Japanese delegation presented their investment funds and health, energy and infrastructure companies.
Ken Shibusawa, CEO of &Capital and Co-chairperson of the Global said Capital, a new Africa-focused impact fund endorsed by the Keizai Doyukai, had visited 90 companies in the last six months as it worked toward a first financial close projected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.
Keizai Doyukai led by Ken Shibusawa signed a letter of intent with the AfDB. The aim was to strengthen business ties between Japan and Africa during the 2022 Africa Investment Forum in Abidjan.
Likewise, Shibusawa drew parallels between the development he was seeing in Africa and his own country’s industrialization.
“Japan was a developing country 150 years ago, with this legacy, Japan should co-create a bright future with Africa,” he stated.
Additionally, during the meeting a representative of energy firm KENS.CO presented its investments. The investment’s are in Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC and other African countries.
The company’s International Marketing and Business Development Manager Abu Zahed Azad described how it provides solar LED lamps to children that they can use at home to do their homework