Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will announce investment in human resources in Africa at a gathering held in Tunisia later this week, in an effort to counter China's influence on the continent, government sources said Wednesday.
At the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Kishida will pledge to invest in fostering the talents of 300,000 people for the next three years, primarily in the agriculture and health sectors, according to the sources.
By investing in people to promote Africa's economic growth, Kishida intends to showcase the difference with China, which has been recently trying to deepen relations with African countries in an apparent bid to bolster its clout in the continent, they added.
The sources say Kishida will show at the two-day meeting from Saturday that Japan is serious about sharing economic growth. He will participate online since he has caught COVID-19 and needs to isolate, reversing his initial plan to join the gathering in person.
At the meeting, Japan will promise to develop human resources in the agricultural field to help boost the region's long-term food production capacity, as concern over hunger remains high amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on which Africa depends for grain.
Tokyo will also vow to train health care professionals in preparation for any new infectious diseases.
Japan, meanwhile, is eager to pay up to $5 billion over three years to support infrastructure development in Africa, and is considering investing around $4 billion in renewable energy and other related fields.
Tokyo is also willing to contribute to educating experts on finance management in Africa, in an attempt to tackle China's so-called "debt trap," in which recipient nations of the Asian power's investment are saddled with loans they cannot repay.
TICAD is a framework for Japan and African countries to discuss what is necessary for the further development of the continent with high growth potential, known as the last frontier. Japan has been leading the conference since 1993.
Japan hosted the previous TICAD gathering, which is currently held every three years, in 2019 in Yokohama.
As a special envoy of Kishida, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is slated to attend the latest TICAD meeting and hold bilateral talks with leaders of other nations during his stay in Tunisia for five days through next Monday.