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Cameroon vs Japan – Development Scorecard

By UNKNOWN
Posted on Monday, 14 June 2010 08:56

Japan’s first overseas loan to Cameroon in 23 years is to help build an international highway from Cameroon to Nigeria. We take a look at the two countries’ relations off the pitch through a development scorecard prepared by the Africa Progress Panel.

Attempts on target

Development Assistance: The Japanese government has announced that it will double aid to Africa by

2012 from $0.9 billion to $1.8 billion. Assistance is intended to complement efforts on climate change and

will specifically cover infrastructure, agriculture, education and health. So far the Japanese government

has more than met its aid commitments, achieving 150% of the increase promised by 2010, commitments

that however are regarded as unambitious relative to the size of the Japanese economy. In Cameroon,

Japan is specifically helping to improve basic living conditions in rural areas of Cameroon. It is also

implementing programmes which target poverty at the community level. (Sources: Japan’s ODA: Rolling

plan for Cameroon, ONE Data Report 2009)

Basic Infrastructure Development: Although Cameroon is a key player within its regional economic

zone, the roads and transportation networks linking it to its neighbours are still inadequate. Japan’s first

Overseas Assistance Loan to Cameroon in 23 years is to implement a transport infrastructure project for

an international highway from Cameroon to Nigeria. (Source: Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Debt Cancellation: Along with other G8 countries, Japan agreed to cancel 100% of qualified debts for

the Highly Indebted Poor Countries, which Cameroon is part of. Japan has fulfilled the cancellations, with

one important exception: it has not cancelled its post-cut-off-date commercial claims. (Source: ONE

Data Report 2009)

Attempts off target

Trade: While Japan already provides more than 98% duty-free and quota-free access to LDCs, it does not

do so for agricultural products (such as rice and sugar) which often constitute the majority of exports from

LDCs like Cameroon. (Sources: ONE Data Report 2009, World Trade Organization)

Development: Cameroon’s recent economic growth has not yet contributed to tangible improvements

in living standards and people’s livelihoods. The country is off target to achieve several of the Millennium

Development Goals, particularly those on poverty, hunger and health. (Source: UNDP Human

Development Report 2009)

Doha Development Round: The world’s major economies, including Japan, have continuously committed

themselves to completing the Doha Development Rounds (which started in 2001), but have thus far failed

to do so. The goal of the Doha Rounds is to lower trade barriers around the world, allowing for an increase

in global trade – including with the developing world.

Fouls

Agricultural Subsidies: Japan is one of the world’s largest agricultural subsidisers, spending almost $40

billion to support its farmers in 2008. This was significantly higher than its global ODA (net of bilateral debt

relief) of $6.8 billion in the same year. (Source: ONE Data Report 2009)

Abuse of ODA: There is a strong link between the votes for Japan in the International Whaling Commission

(IWC) and the aid money some members in the IWC have received, including Cameroon. The government

of Japan has been repeatedly criticized for using overseas development aid, particularly fisheries aid, in

order to gain control of IWC. (Source: AfrolNews)

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