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Japan makes $30bn Africa aid pledge during TICAD in Tunis

By Cobus van Staden

Posted on August 30, 2022 05:35

Japan will extend $30 billion in funding to aid African development. This is the major outcome of the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which took place in Tunisia this weekend. 

Speaking virtually, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged funding across several cooperation initiatives.

These include $4 billion for green growth and decarbonization and a $5 billion loan to the African Development Bank to support fiscal stability, with a special $1 billion loan for debt management.

Highlights from TICAD8

  • SUB-TWEETING CHINA: Kishida didn’t mention China by name but framed Japan’s engagement in geopolitical terms: “We must maintain and strengthen the rule-based, free, and open international order. The rule-based, free, and open international order. We will strengthen coordination at various levels between Africa and Japan to promote a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.’ ” Both in its oblique approach and in the language used, this seems to echo the United States’s recent stance on Africa-China relations.
  • BLASTING RUSSIA: In contrast to the indirect language on China, Russia’s ‘ongoing aggression’ against Ukraine was explicitly blamed for growing food insecurity in Africa and provided the frame for enhanced cooperation on food and agriculture: “Japan has recently decided to make a contribution of around US$130 million in food assistance to African countries. In addition, Japan will provide US$300 million to bolster food production through co-financing with the African Development Bank and assist with capacity building for 200,000 people in the agriculture sector.”
  • MOVING IN ON FOCAC TARGETS: TICAD8 continued Japan’s subtle co-opting of China’s engagement with Africa through its Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) by setting additional targets for training, people-to-people exchange and health cooperation: “Over the next three years, we will work to cultivate more than 300,000 professionals in a wide range of fields that include industry, health, medicine, education, agriculture, justice, and administration.”

TICAD unexpectedly dragged Japan into North African politics. Its co-host Tunisia’s seeming anti-democratic turn complicated Japan’s position. Tunisia’s decision to invite a separatist Western Saharan group also led to Morocco boycotting the event.

This article is published in partnership with the China Global South Project.

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