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Japan to partner with West Africa to promote peace, security

Jan 13, 2014, 9:27 AM

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on Friday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, said Japan would partner with West African leaders to promote peace and security in the sub-region through dialogue.

Abe, who spoke at the opening of a meeting with ECOWAS heads of government, said promoting peace and security in the sub-region would give a fillip to economic activities and boost development.

He said the need to promote peace and security in West Africa had become crucial due to its strategic place in the global economy.

Abe added that Japan, being a longstanding friend to many countries in the sub-region, would continue to engage in issues that would promote economic development.

The prime minister said Japan was ready to mobilise massive investments in the sub-region to boost its economic fortune.

He noted that “Japan is ready to cooperate with governments in the West African sub-region toward facilitating Japanese investments.

“We will encourage our investors to invest in opportunities in the countries in the region.”

In his address, the chairman of ECOWAS heads of government, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, said West Africa was blessed with investment opportunities capable of triggering sustainable economic development.

Ouattara said ECOWAS member states were ready to work with Japan toward deepening economic integration and cooperation that would be mutually beneficial.

“ECOWAS member states see Japan’s interest in the sub-region as a welcome development. It is our hope that we will enjoy a mutually-beneficial relationship,” Ouattara said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Abe’s visit was the first from a Japanese head of government to Africa in the past eight years.

The prime minister’s decision to visit Africa was taken in June 2013 at the Africa-Japan Summit in Tokyo.