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Tuesday, 06 September 2016

Rising Sino-Japanese competition in Africa

On August 27 and 28, the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) was held in Nairobi, Kenya—the first time the TICAD has been hosted in Africa since its inception in 1993. During the forum, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $30 billion in public and private support for African development over the next three years, including $10 billion for infrastructure projects executed in cooperation with the African Development Bank. While Japan’s heightened contribution to African development is a highly positive sign of enhanced international efforts, such positivity is shadowed by the broad coverage on Japan intensifying its competition with China in Africa. The Chinese mostly hold a negative view of Japan’s renewed interest in Africa. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Japan of “attempting to impose its wills on African countries to gain selfish interests and drive a wedge between China and African countries.” The accusation is primarily based on the observation that, prior to TICAD VI, Japan attempted (but failed) to insert political issues—including U.N. Security Council reform and contentious maritime security issues—into the forum’s agenda, therefore politicizing a summit that was supposed to be about African development.

Source: brookings.edu