[Spotlight: Africa①] Trade relations and diplomacy between Japan and Africa
Though Japan strengthened its relationship with Africa through the establishment of Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development (TICAD) in 1993, Japan’s history of trade relations with Africa had already been in development since World War I, with cities such as Cairo and Cape Town serving as major ports.
- Category: #Awaji #International Relations #Spotlight
- Interview date: Sep 3rd , 2018
- Writer: David Kpondehou
Though Japan strengthened its relationship with Africa through the establishment of Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development (TICAD) in 1993, Japan’s history of trade relations with Africa had already been in development since World War I, with cities such as Cairo and Cape Town serving as major ports. Rapid expansion of the African market during the 1930s marked the beginning of new ties with Japan, which developed further in the 1960s with an increase in the exchange of minerals and other resources. The Africa Division of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) was established in 1961, and the Ministry considers Japan’s engagement with Africa to have officially begun during this period. Rare metals from South Africa and cobalt from the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) soon became vital trade resources after Japan had shifted its focus to high-tech industries during the 1970s.
To strengthen its relationship with Africa, the Japanese government launched the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in October 1993, which currently plays a major role in Japanese-African relations. TICAD is now utilized as a global platform for African affairs to discuss solutions which help tackle various issues in Africa such as economic development, community life improvement, and post-conflict recovery…. The conference is open to all potential stakeholders on African development including Japan, African countries, international organizations, donor countries, and other private sector or civil society organizations. It was launched to promote high-level dialogue between African leaders and development partners, and is now co-organized by Japan, the Commission of the African Union (AU), the United Nations, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Since its inception, the summit conference has been held every five years, with the next summit conference to be held in August 2019 in Yokohama, Japan. Apart from TICAD, several other bilateral efforts such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have since been created which continue to promote mutually beneficial relations between Japan and Africa.