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Japan to provide US$3.4 billion in ODA loans to India for major transportation, water, and environmental projects

Japan has announced that it will provide ¥374 billion (US$3.4 billion) of ODA loans to India. These funds will be used for nine projects, distributed as follows:

  1. Ahmedabad Metro Project (II) - ¥13.9 billion (US$128 million): Construction of two subway lines (North-South and East-West) in Ahmedabad. Travel time from North-South will be reduced from 70 minutes to 40 minutes and travel from East-West will be reduced from 98 minutes to 42 minutes;
  2. Dedicated Freight Corridor Project (Phase IV) - ¥130 billion (US$1.2 billion): Construction of a freight railway between Delhi and Mumbai as well as between the major cities of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Haryana. The loan will also introduce a fully automatic signal and communication system and a large-capacity high-speed freight train. This is expected to increase transportation distance from 38,000 km to 250,000 km;
  3. Madhya Pradesh Rural Water Supply Project - ¥55.5 billion (US$507 million): Construction of three water supply facilities in the northwestern provinces of Madhya Pradesh. By 2030, the average daily water supply from these facilities is expected to be 96,634m2 (east area) and 92,296m2 (west area);
  4. Mumbai Metro Line 3 Project (III) - ¥39.9 billion (US$365 million): Construction of a 34 km mass transit system in the Mumbai metropolitan area of Maharashtra. By 2030, the Mumbai Metro Line 3 is expected to increase the number of trains to 767 and the number of passengers to 14 million people per km per day;
  5. Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Project (II) - ¥66.9 billion (US$612 million): Construction of a maritime road from central Mumbai to Navi Mumbai. By 2024, the number of passengers is expected to be around 46 million a year, and travel time will be about 61 minutes;
  6. North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project (Phase 4) – ¥14.9 billion (US$137 million): Improvement of the national road from Tripura to Kowai (about 80 km) and establishment of a new bypass in Kowai (about 5 km). By 2026, the average travel time will be reduced from about 205 minutes to 103 minutes;
  7. Project for Community-Based Forest Management and Livelihoods Improvements in Meghalaya - ¥10.4 billion (US$95 million): Implementation of forest management, improving livelihoods, and strengthening the organization of state government agencies in Meghalaya. This project is expected to improve the quality of forests, including the planting of 22,500 hectares of trees;
  8. Project for Ecosystem Restoration in Gujarat – ¥13.8 billion (US$126 million): Development of mangrove forests and windbreaks, restoration of grasslands, forests, and wetlands, strengthening of human-wildlife conflict management, and improvements to the implementation system in Gujarat; and
  9. Project for Pollution Abatement of Nag River in Nagpur – ¥29.0 billion (US$266 million): Development of sewerage facilities and public health facilities at the Nag River in Nagpur. By 2030, sewerage coverage is expected to reach 100%.

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan Global health

Japan to provide credit line up to US$500 million to low-income Asian countries targeting women, low-income earners, and small businesses

Japan announced that it will provide a credit line up to US$500 million through its new Private Sector Investment and Finance project.

In low-income countries, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are comprising an increasing proportion of the workforce. However, the funding gap for MSMEs in low-income countries is over US$4.5 trillion. In addition, 1.7 billion adults, mostly in low-income countries, do not have bank accounts. Moreover, only 23% of MSME owners are female, and financial inclusion is critical for empowering women.  

During the 22nd Japan-ASEAN Summit in November of 2019, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Initiative on Overseas Loan and Investment for ASEAN to improve financial access for women, low-income earners, and MSMEs in the ASEAN regions. The Facility for Accelerating Financial Inclusion in Asia (FAIA) will provide a total credit line up to US$500 million and up to US$100 million per project.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan

Japan to provide US$7 million to strengthen tuberculosis control in Afghanistan

The Japanese government has announced that it will provide ¥764 million (US$7 million) to strengthen tuberculosis control in Afghanistan.

In 2017, the treatment success rate of tuberculosis in Afghanistan reached 91%, exceeding the World Health Organization’s (WHO's) higher than 90%” benchmark due to greater access to treatment and improvements in patient identification since 2000. However, Afghanistan maintained an estimated 60,000 cases (21st in the world) and about 10,000 deaths per year in 2017 due to a lack of knowledge surrounding tuberculosis and disparities in the capabilities of medical facilities. In addition, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis has hindered the use of conventional antibiotics, preventing the reduction in cases.

Japan's additional funds will provide drug treatments, including those for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and diagnostic agents from 2020 to 2023, and contribute to the steady implementation of Afghanistan’s tuberculosis control program. Over three years, these funds are expected to increase the number of patients receiving tuberculosis treatment to about 179,000 (about 1.4 times the current number) and the number of patients receiving multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment to about 3,000 (about 7.4 times the current number).  

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan Global health

Japan International Cooperation Agency recalls all overseas volunteers due to COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has decided to temporarily repatriate all 1,800 overseas volunteers dispatched in 66 countries. JICA has already evacuated volunteers from China and other countries.

While none of those volunteers have been found to be infected with the virus and some are from areas where no case has been confirmed, JICA has decided on preventive measures in the case of emergencies as many countries do not have adequate medical systems and have restricted the movement of people.

Volunteers will return home as soon as arrangements are made, and will be asked to place themselves under self-imposed quarantine for two weeks after returning to Japan.
    
JICA has not yet announced when volunteers will be sent overseas again. In addition, JICA has postponed the dispatch of about 300 volunteers late this March.

News article – NHK World News

Japan

New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

Japan to provide US$24 million in humanitarian assistance to Sahel refugees

Deteriorating security in the Sahel region has led to a rise in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons. Therefore, Japan has announced that it will provide US$24 million in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region: Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali. Japan will allocate US$12 million to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and US$12 million to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The distribution of assistance by country is as follows:

  • Chad (US$4.2 million)
    • Provide shelters, blankets, tents and more to 11,000 people to improve living conditions.
  • Burkina Faso (US$8 million)
    • Provide shelters, blankets, tents and more to 14,000 people to improve living conditions; and
    • Provide food to 177,000 people to improve nutritional status.
  • Niger (US$7 million)
    • Provide protection for 157,000 vulnerable people, including victims of sexual violence and children;
    • Provide water, sanitation and health services to 156,000 people to improve living conditions; and
    • Provide food to 37,000 people to improve nutritional status.
  • Mali (US$5 million)
    • Provide educational opportunities to 1,500 children and conduct training for 30 teachers;
    • Provide protection for  66,000 people, including victims of sexual violence and those in need of legal assistance; and
    • Provide food to 97,000 people to improve nutritional status.

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan Nutrition

Japan to provide US$13 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan refugees

Countries neighboring Venezuela have been struggling to manage the drastic influx of refugees fleeing that country's deteriorating economy and social collapse. In response, Japan has announced that it will provide US$13 million in humanitarian assistance for Venezuelan refugees in countries neighboring Venezuela: Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. Through the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Japan will help protect vulnerable people, promote social integration, and distribute food, shelters, blankets, tents, and other supplies.

The distribution of assistance by country is as follows

  • Brazil (US$3 million; 220,000 refugees)
    • Distribute non-food assistance to 1,000 households and provide shelter to vulnerable people; and
    • Support the social integration of refugees into their host communities.
  • Columbia (US$4 million; 1.6 million refugees)
    • Provide assistance to 65,000 refugees and help secure their rights;
    • Provide shelter to 5,200 refugees; and
    • Support the livelihoods and promote the social integration of 40,000 refugees.
  • Ecuador (US$3 million; 380,000 refugees)
    • Provide shelter to 2,500 refugees;
    • Provide supplies to meet the basic needs of 4,500 refugees;
    • Provide psychosocial support to refugees, including 20,000 trauma victims;
    • Provide legal assistance to 18,600 refugees; and
    • Protect 12,900 vulnerable refugees, including victims of gender-based violence and children, as well as promote their social integration.
  • Peru (US$4 million; 860,000 refugees)
    • Distribute shelters and non-food assistance to 9,500 people;
    • Protect 17,000 vulnerable refugees, including victims of gender-based violence and children; and
    • Support the social integration of 3,000 refugees into their host communities.

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan Nutrition

Japan to provide US$9 million to improve agriculture and waste management in Bhutan

The Japanese government has announced that it will provide $US8.5 million (¥936 million) to improve agriculture and waste management in Bhutan.

In Bhutan, agriculture is a key economic sector accounting for about 15.2% of GDP and comprising 57.2% of the working population. However, the mountain landscape limits the area available for cultivation, and the self-sufficiency rate of Bhutan is only 46.7%. Furthermore, young people are moving rapidly to urban areas, and rural populations are aging and shrinking.

Therefore, Japan has allocated US$4 million (¥427 million) to provide agricultural machinery throughout Bhutan. Between 2018 to 2023, these funds are expected to increase the annual cultivated area from 10,492 to 17,800 hecatres, and annual area harvested by agricultural machinery from 805 to 1,945 hectares. In addition, this project is expected to contribute to the efficiency of agricultural work, promote the utilization of fallow land, increase agriculture productivity and employment in rural areas, and improve food security. 

The amount of waste generated in Bhutan has increased as population growth and urbanization have led to lifestyle changes and rising income levels. Mostly cities have been using donated waste management equipment that is aging and prone to failures. As a result, cities cannot perform regular waste management and proper disposal of waste, worsening living conditions.

To address these issues, Japan will direct US$6 million (¥590 million) to provide equipment related to the transportation and collection of waste (containers, bulldozers, etc.) to the cities of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Sarpang and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Press release – Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan Agriculture

Growing number of corporate investors expand the use of social bonds in Japan

Japan has seen an increase in social bonds to raise funds for projects addressing social issues, driven by a number of new corporate investors. Sony Life became one of the newest members of this circle on February 27, 2020 after investing in Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) bonds, which are used for ODA loans to promote social and economic development.

JICA first made its bonds available on the Japanese domestic market in 2008. Since then, JICA has offered US dollar-denominated bonds on the US market, and also expanded in 2018 to offer its Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) bonds on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's new Green and Social Bond Platform.

As well as JICA bonds, the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) has issued social bonds, with recent investors including ANA Holdings Inc., and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. JASSO bonds are used for Type 2 scholarships for university students, and are issued quarterly. Since 2018, JASSO bonds have been issued as social bonds, and this February JASSO issued US$274 million (¥30 billion) in bonds.

The growth in Japan's social bonds market from corporate investors reflects broader trends that hold corporations increasingly responsible for furthering sustainability. Investors and customers are increasingly demanding that companies contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and place greater focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors.

News release – CoinDesk (in Japanese) 

News release - MarketWatch

Press release - Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Japan

ONE highlights need for better data, alongside release of their new gender data dashboard

ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has joined the growing number of organizations calling attention to the fact that "more funding for gender equality may not be all it seems". Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality reached an all-time high of US$45.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 39.4% of ODA. However, closer examinations of the figures recently released by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that challenges remain, especially in terms of the quality of the data available on the state of funding for gender equality in development.

As part of ONE's commitment to back up their advocacy with data-driven tools, they released a new interactive dashboard to explore gender ODA from nine major donors. The tool provides data on how each donor spends gender equality focused development funding, information on their key gender strategies, details on the sectors and income levels that they target, and analysis of how different agencies prioritize gender equality.

Blog post - ONE