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Japan Seeks Cooperation with China in Africa

Jan. 2 -As reported in the {Yomiuri Shimbun}, the government of Japan will ask China to join in Japan’s development projects in Africa. This is a substantial shift in Japan’s traditional practice to only fund Japanese projects abroad. (It would fit Europe as well to also begin such kind of cooperation with China and Japan in African projects. So far, Europe has been more than reluctant to do so.)

The four projects Tokyo is considering for Chinese participation are: the “Growth Ring” plan to link West African nations via major roadways; development and improvement of roads and bridges in Kenya; development and improvement of the “International Corridor” road that connects cities in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville); and road improvement in Rwanda.

The “Growth Ring” project is a 3,200 km road running in a huge loop from north to south, linking Burkina Faso with Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo, and the 1,000 km road stretching east to west, connecting five countries from Nigeria to Ivory Coast. The project is expected to create a new economic bloc by connecting Nigeria, which has a relatively large economy, with other countries in the region.

Improving Kenya’s transportation system is part of the Japanese development assistance for Mombasa Port, which serves as an international trade hub in the eastern region of the continent. Japan has dominated the work for the port’s development project, but now hopes to divide responsibilities with China on the project to develop and improve a road and a bridge connecting the port with the adjacent area. For the “International Corridor” project and the road work in Rwanda, Japan will partially finance them and encourage Chinese entities to take part in the projects.

Africa is expected to see explosive population growth and is deemed to be the last mega-market.

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