“We mourn the loss of a great global statesman… Shinzo Abe was a gentleman, a caring and visionary leader, who worked for a better and more peaceful world.
“He will be greatly missed. Shinzo Abe had a special love and affection for Africa,“ said African Development Bank group president Dr Akinwumi A Adesina on Sunday.
He said expressed his condolences and sympathies to the government and people of Japan on the tragic death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
“During the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 2016, I had the privilege of huddling together with him and several heads of state to help find a way to provide Africa with access to Japanese cleaner-energy sources.”
He said that the result of that meeting was an invitation to visit him in Tokyo and a subsequent decision by the Japanese government to provide a major clean-energy financing facility to Africa.
“During the 30th anniversary of the Sasakawa Foundation in 2016 in Tokyo, he graced the occasion and delivered a moving and memorable speech about the importance of food security in Africa.
We met again in 2019, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron during the Biarritz G7 leaders summit. As always, he was keenly supportive of the African Development Bank’s efforts to support African women through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative (Afawa), for which the G7 subsequently helped to raise $450 million (R7.60 billion), with a goal to mobilise $5bn for women in Africa.
“Under (then) prime minister Shinzo Abe, the African Development Bank was given prominence in the foreign policy of Japan. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank signed the $3bn Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa, and $3.5bn EPSA-4 agreements for co-financing in Africa, further boosting investments in Africa’s infrastructure and private sector,” Adesina said.
It is to Shinzo Abe’s credit that the term “quality infrastructure” was coined and mainstreamed into the global financing of infrastructure by the G20, he added.
“Under Shinzo Abe’s exemplary leadership, ties between Africa and Japan became stronger than ever. We will be forever indebted to the lasting contributions Shinzo Abe made to our continent.
“I send my deepest condolences to his wife, family, and the government and people of Japan at this time of much sorrow. I share in your sorrow and pain on the loss of one of the finest global leaders of our generation. His death is a huge loss to Japan and to the world,” Adesina said.