Kenya hopes to sign fresh multibillion-shilling infrastructure deals with Japan following talks by the two nations at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad).
The negotiations on the side-lines of the second Africa-Japan Public Private Conference for High Quality Infrastructure in Yokohama, were led by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
He held talks Japanese Lands, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii on the funding of port, road, bridge and other projects using innovative arrangements of debt-free public private partnerships.
“Japan continues to be an important partner in implementing critical infrastructure projects in Kenya,” Mr Macharia said.
Some of the projects in question include the construction of phase one of the second container terminal in Mombasa, which increased the port handling capacity by an additional of 450,000 20-foot equivalent units.
Japan has also partnered with Kenya to build phase two of the second container terminal, which will have an additional capacity of 450,000 TEUs aside from implementing the Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project that has improved access to the port and reduced congestion in the coastal city.
The other is the Nairobi Western Ring Roads project, the dualling of Ngong Road, and others.
During Ticad meeting, African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki, said countries on the continent have come to the conclusion that the PPP model is the ideal approach of achieving sustainable development.
Kenya has adopted the PPP approach to implement some of its largest infrastructure projects, including the planned Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit road.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would spend USD20 billion (Sh2 trillion) in Africa.
"I make this pledge to you: The government of Japan will put forth every possible effort so that the power of Japanese private investment of USD20 billion in three years, should, in the years to come, be surpassed anew from one day to the next," the premier said.
Mr Abe also said Tokyo would offer “limitless support” for investment, innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship, with the backing from Japan government-backed institutions.
Mr Macharia delivered a speech on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Blue Economy Side Event.
“Africa cannot afford to be left out of the multitrillion-dollar maritime industry. Our oceans, lakes and rivers are certainly the new frontier of the African renaissance,” the minister said.
“The blue economy will play a decisive role in addressing Africa’s twin challenges of unemployment and poverty while ensuring environmental sustainability. We must carry out our roles expeditiously and make decisions aimed at achieving our long-term objectives.”
At the event themed “Advancing Africa’s Development Through People, Technology and Innovation”, Kenya sought to strengthen bilateral relations as well as consolidate cooperation with Japan in several areas of the economy.
The delegation focused on optimising the resources available in Japan for the delivery of President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
Ticad Seven built on Ticad Six, the first-ever such event to be held in Africa.
It was hosted in Nairobi in September 2016.
The conference was launched by Japan in 1993 to promote Africa’s development and has over the years grown into a major and multilateral forum for mobilising and sustaining international support for projects on the continent.