Japan pledged economic assistance for Mozambique that would focus on technology transfers and job creation, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tours Africa to shore up support from the resource-rich continent.
Abe, who is visiting Mozambique, stressed that Japanese investment will help create employment through an initiative to develop the country’s rich natural gas and coal resources.
Japan will train at least 300 local personnel in mining, smelting technology and environmental protection over the next five years, The Nikkei has learned. The Japan, Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, plant-engineering specialist Chiyoda, and Akita University will send experts to the region to provide the training while also inviting trainees to Japan.
In a meeting with Mozambique President Armando Guebeza in the capital of Maputo, Abe also pledged around 70 billion yen ($660.7 million) in loans and other assistance over the next five years, including highway construction to link the nation’s major ports.
Japan will supply an additional 17.2 billion yen in loans for building a state-of-the-art power plant fueled by natural gas.
The benefits of Mozambique’s rich resources “should be used to create sustained growth and a better life for citizens,” Abe said.
“Japanese corporate investment will transfer technology to local hands and create jobs,” Abe said, emphasizing Japan’s sole intention to hand over knowledge and skills to local residents, enabling them to work for themselves. “Now is the time to choose Japan as a business partner,” he said.
The African continent has become a new battleground for Japan and China. Abe is seeking to ease Beijing’s grip on the region, a “golden ground” for Chinese investment. While China has poured in investments in infrastructure and the mining industry, it has drawn criticism from African nations for sending its own workers and not employing locals.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image of Shinzo Abe arriving for G8 Summit in Belfast: Northern Ireland Executive/Flickr