By Olufemi Terry

An African Development Bank delegation led by three vice presidents will visit Japan from 17-21 June to promote investment opportunities in key African sectors and strengthen partnerships with the Japanese government and corporations.

Vice presidents Kevin Kariuki, Solomon Quaynor, and Kevin Urama will be joined by the Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Austria, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, Takaaki Nomoto, and Yacine Fal, the Bank president’s Special Representative to the Africa Investment Forum, to build momentum for the 9th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD9) scheduled for 2025.

The delegation’s visit is expected to strengthen the partnership between the African Development Bank, the Japanese government, and Japan’s private sector, paving the way for increased investment and collaboration in Africa’s most promising sectors ahead of TICAD9.

A cornerstone of the mission is the Japan-Africa Business Forum 2024, co-organized by the Bank Group and Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), set for June 18 in Tokyo. Themed Exploring Investment Risks in Africa: Unveiling the True Potential and Challenges, the Forum will highlight the growing partnership between the two organisations, which signed a statement of intent in 2022 to strengthen Japan-Africa business ties. The delegation will also engage with Japanese business leaders, academia, and the Ministry of Finance to explore further cooperation and investment opportunities in sectors where Africa has a competitive advantage.

During the forum, Urama, the Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, will present findings from the African Economic Outlook, the Bank Group’s flagship report, showcasing Africa’s investment landscape.

Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, will lead a session on Africa’s thriving startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem, emphasizing the Bank Group’s and investors’ role in nurturing its growth.

Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Kariuki, will discuss green infrastructure project structuring in Africa and the Bank’s initiatives in this area, underscoring the continent’s potential for sustainable investment.

Fal will give a preview of the Africa Investment Forum(link is external), highlighting its importance in catalysing investment across key sectors.

The mission builds on the successful visit of African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina to Japan in April 2023, where he advocated for increased Japanese investment in Africa and highlighted successful Japanese ventures on the continent.

During that visit, Ken Shibusawa, Chairperson of Keizai Doyukai’s Middle East/Africa-Japan Relations Committee, announced the formation of a fund, &Capital(link is external), to support early-stage African companies. The Bank Group and &Capital have since established a partnership that aligns with the Bank Group’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks initiative, demonstrating Shibusawa’s strong commitment to investing in Africa.

The mission also builds on the outcomes of TICAD8 held in Tunisia in August 2022, where Japan and the African Development Bank announced a $5 billion financial cooperation under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) initiative.

It follows the Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days, which drew over 80 representatives from 40 Japanese entities, indicating the growing interest of Japanese businesses in Africa’s dynamic markets and youthful entrepreneurial population.