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Japan Looks to Reinvigorate Africa Policy

Monday, April 8, 2013

Last month, newly minted Chinese President Xi Jinping toured Africa promising more investment, stronger people-to-people ties and a more dynamic trading relationship with the continent. Considering that China’s trade with Africa totaled nearly $200 billion last year, this visit was more than mere window-dressing. India also has been staking out an aggressive strategy of engagement in Africa, building on its historical ties to Eastern Africa. Last year, Indian trade with the continent neared $70 billion.

Where does this leave Japan? For years, Tokyo maintained an impeccable reputation across the continent as a result of its generous supply of overseas development assistance. While it may not garner the same headlines as China’s energy politics in the region or U.S. counterterrorism work in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, Japan’s efforts across Africa are increasing in depth and scope. On the development side, Japan will be hosting the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) this June in Yokohama. Despite economic troubles at home, TICAD continues to enjoy high-level support from the government of Japan and serves as one of the premier development assistance forums on the continent. ...

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