African leaders mourn former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

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By VINCENT OWINO

Several African leaders expressed shock and anguish over the Friday assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whom they called a friend of Africa.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had lost “a dear friend and ally for the development of the Kenyan nation”.

“It is quite shocking and somewhat unbelievable to learn of the death of my friend and one of Kenya’s key development allies, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Mr Kenyatta said.

Uhuru Abe

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on March 13, 2015.

Current African Union Chairperson and President of Senegal Macky Sall offered his condolences to Abe’s family saying the news of his death was saddening.

“I salute his memory and offer my sincere condolences to his family, government and friendly Japanese people. Rest in peace,” President Sall wrote in a tweet.

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Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, who described Abe as a “great friend of Africa”, also expressed his anguish over the former prime minister’s death.

“A powerful voice for good in the world. He led the Ticad (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) for a very strong Japan-Africa partnership. My condolences to his family, to the government and to the people of Japan,” he said.

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya also said he was “deeply saddened” by the death, expressing his condolences to the Japanese people and their family.

As Japan’s head of government between 2012 and 2020, Shinzo is credited with strengthening trade and diplomatic relations with Africa throughout his reign.

In 2016, Shinzo was in Nairobi for the sixth Ticad summit and the last of his reign, during which African states received funding of up to $30 billion to support infrastructure development, education and the expansion of health care.

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