Top of the Morning: Japan Prime Minister Wraps Up Big Tour of Africa, With Aid Pledges

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Japan Prime Minister Finishes Africa Tour With Big Aid Plans

A rivalry with China is at the center of Japan’s new opening in Africa, and Prime Minister Abe is doing it in style. “Japanese officials have said that while they cannot match the $75 billion in development aid that China has poured into Africa since 2000, they hope to close the gap in other ways. One is to use Japanese aid to train African engineers and technicians, in order to differentiate Japanese efforts from Chinese projects that have been criticized for employing mainly Chinese workers while offering few jobs to Africans. The tour, which made stops in Mozambique, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, also brought an unusual amount of showmanship to Japan’s often drab style of diplomacy.” (NYT

NGOs Pledge $400 million Toward Syrian Appeal

The one-day conference is today, though NGOs got an early start. “Charity organisations pledged $400 million (292 million euros) Tuesday to help alleviate the humanitarian plight of Syrians affected by their country’s civil war, participants at a meeting of charitable NGOs said. Kuwait’s International Islamic Charitable Organisation said Kuwaiti charities pledged $142 million, while dozens of NGOs attending the meeting promised the rest…At a similar meeting last year, NGOs pledged $182 million for Syrian refugees. Tuesday’s gathering came a day before the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, which aims to raise $6.5 billion for more than 13.4 million Syrians facing extreme conditions inside the country and in neighbouring nations.” (Yahoo!