Mombasa port

Japan is planning to increase involvement in infrastructure projects in Africa as it looks to strengthen its foothold in what Tokyo considers to be one of the world’s last major growth markets.

A plan with funding for 60 major infrastructure projects, including strategic port and linking transport infrastructure investments, has been prepared ahead of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

The event will be organised by the Japanese government together with the United Nations and the African Union.

The next TICAD will take place in Nairobi in August where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to formally announce Japanese involvement in the projects.

Japan’s Africa investments have so far centered largely on three areas — Kenya’s port of Mombasa and hinterland, Nicala port in Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire.

On the ports front, Mombasa has been the primary investment to date, with Japan committing $500 million for the future development of the port, close to half of which is already allocated as a loan for development of its second phase.

Together with a new container terminal, the Mombasa project includes development of hinterland roads, weighbridges and capacity building for customs clearance processes.

The new access road to the terminal will have a capacity of 750,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units per year. A railway station with four rail mounted gantry cranes will also be constructed.

Japan’s second major African port project is at Nacala in northern Mozambique, the deepest port in southern Africa, where it is investing $255 million in the port’s second phase.

Expected to be complete by the start of 2018, the project will expand the capacity of the port to over 250,000 TEUs and 5 million tons of cargo per year by 2020. (Turloch Mooney)