Govt to help Japanese firms expand into Africa

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government plans to support partnerships between Japanese companies and firms from nations with economic influence in Africa, such as France and India, to encourage Japanese enterprises to branch out into the continent.

Arrangements are being made to hold in South Africa in May a first-of-its-kind conference for governments and firms concerned to discuss ways to cooperate.

Africa is rich in resources, has a growing population and is experiencing economic growth.

France and India have strong historical ties to Africa. A wide range of French companies, in particular, have expanded into African countries, including manufacturers of electronics, automobiles and other products, as well as cosmetics and telecommunication firms.

It is hoped that if Japanese companies partner with firms from nations such as France and India, it will help them develop markets and seize business opportunities in Africa.

From Japan, the meeting is expected to be attended by Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and senior executives from nearly 100 firms, including trading companies and manufacturers.

So far, Japan’s economic ties with Africa have mainly been through yen loans and government-led infrastructure projects supported by entities such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

China, whose influence in Africa is growing, made direct investments of about $32.3 billion (about ¥3.4 trillion) to build factories and in other projects on the continent in 2014. In contrast, Japan’s direct investments in 2015 amounted to about $10.2 billion.Speech

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