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Japan earmarks $1 billion development, humanitarian aid for boosting northern African security

Japan is providing 100 billion yen ($1 billion) in aid over the next five years to northern Africa for economic development and humanitarian efforts, including help with security and counter-terrorism measures.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the assistance in a speech Sunday at a conference in Yokohama, near Tokyo, where officials from 50 African nations have gathered to talk about trade, growth and other issues.

The $1 billion is part of the 3.2 trillion yen ($32 billion) in government and private-sector aid announced Saturday.

Japan is keen to court Africa, which is rich in resources and growing as a market, after having fallen behind Asian rival China in trade with and infrastructure projects in Africa.

The three-day conference, held every five years, began in 1993. This year's ends Monday.