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Japan Announces $32bn Package For Africa   
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Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Abe and President Mahama
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Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, on Saturday, opened the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) with the announcement of a five-year $32 billion package to support infrastructure development and boost economic growth in Africa.

The package is in line with the objective of TICAD, which is to among others, contribute to development on the continent and enable African countries to determine what projects to focus on.

Forty-one African heads of state including President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, are attending TICAD V.

The three-day conference, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the TICAD process, is on the theme: “Hand in Hand with the more Dynamic Africa”.

The conference is reviewing Africa's cooperation with Japan in the last two decades along four thematic areas of a robust economy, resilient society, developing public/private sector partnership and peace and stability in Africa.

Prime Minister Abe told the audience that Japan would also continue with its assistance programmes in health, education and other sectors.

He noted that his country’s nutrition assistance to Ghana, which started the construction of small maternity centres, was helping midwives to respond in a timely manner to mothers during childbirth.

"We also started classes for expecting mothers. This is an awareness creating activity in which we bring pregnant women together to teach them and let them know the various things they should be aware of as expectant mothers,” Mr. Abe stated.

The Japanese Prime Minister was also full of praise for Ghana's ‘koko plus’, a supplement that helps to increase the weight of babies.

According to him, the success of the supplement "… captured the attention of a company, Ajinomoto, one of Japan’s major food-related corporations.”

On education, Mr. Abe said Japan would in the next five years provide scholarships to one thousand undergraduate and graduate students from Africa to study in Japan.

The students would also be provided with opportunities to work as interns in Japanese companies. The Prime Minister used the occasion to launch Japan’s “Africa Business Education Initiative (ABE) for the youth in Africa."

"Together with the ABE Initiative, over the next five years, we will set about cultivating 'business and industry savvy human capacities' that will lead to employment for thirty thousand individuals, making use of the human resources development already being implemented by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)," he said.

Attending TICAD V with President Mahama are the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper; Minister for Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh and the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Kofi Buah.
Source: GNA

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