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Japan/Africa: More but Not Enough

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Jun 9, 2008 (080609)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

In recent years, Japan's role in Africa has attracted little attention from international media, in comparison to the high profile of China and, sometimes, India. Nevertheless, with the world's 2nd largest national economy, behind the United States, Japan's relations with the continent are significant - and growing. As host of the G-8 Summit in July, Japan will be in the spotlight and its record on global and African issues under scrutiny.

At the end of May, Japan hosted the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), receiving representatives from 52 African countries, including 40 heads of state or government. Government officials were consistently upbeat on the prospects both for African growth and for increased Japanese aid and investment. Civil society networks from Japan and Africa also welcomed increased Japanese involvement, but expressed disappointment at the level of commitment on AIDS funding and the dominant emphasis on private investment over direct support for development goals.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains (1) excerpts from the opening speech at TICAD IV by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, (2) a critical statement from Japanese civil society by the TICAD IV NGO Network and the 2008 G8 Summit NGO Forum, and (3) a statement on Japan's contribution to the Global Fund, from Project RING and the Japan AIDS and Society Association.

For additional official information on TICAD IV, see For ongoing coverage of African and Japanese civil society opinion on Japan/Africa relations, see the website of the TICAD Civil Society Forum (


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Address by H.E. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan at the Opening Session of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV)

May 28, 2008

[Excerpts. For full text visit]

Today we are honored to have representatives from 52 African nations and from many Asian nations and donor countries. In addition, a number of international organizations, special guests, and representatives of NGOs are also participating. With all these participants, this TICAD IV has become a truly historic event.


If I were to liken the history of African development to a great narrative, then what we are about to do now is to open to a new page, titled the "century of African growth." In the future, Africa will become a powerful engine driving the growth of the world. Through preparations for TICAD IV, I believe that we have come to share a common intuition about Africa's prospects for the future.


Here at this juncture, Japan wants to walk alongside the African people, shoulder to shoulder.

In order to boost the momentum for African growth, the most important thing is the development of infrastructure. In particular, the experiences of Japan and other Asian countries tell us that improvements in transportation infrastructure play a critical role in attracting private investment.

While there is progress now underway in Africa's road network, there are still many missing links, and this is one of the reasons why it has not yet reached a point where it sufficiently performs the functions of a full-fledged network. The Government of Japan wishes to engage in efforts to diligently join these unconnected road networks. Japan also wishes to combine these efforts with improvements to ports in order to form a network - a network that will enable Africa as a whole to move forward with greater dynamism.

With that in mind, the first pledge that I would like to make today is that over the next five years, Japan will proactively and flexibly provide up to 4 billion US dollars of soft loans to Africa. It will certainly help increase momentum for infrastructure improvements. Japan intends to do its utmost in this area in cooperation with the donors of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA).


Networks of road systems fulfill their intended purpose only when they transport people and goods smoothly. Therefore our objective must be to enable crossing and inspections at national borders as quickly as possible. The Government of Japan hopes to assist with building "one-stop border posts," which are facilities designed to make crossing national borders more efficient in the areas of customs and immigration procedures. Japan hopes to assist in training the personnel who will work there.

Activities by private companies are crucial for African growth. This is another reason why it is imperative for us to improve infrastructure. Japanese companies will have greater interest in Africa as infrastructure is enhanced. When direct investment from Japanese companies increases, transfers of technology and managerial know-how will also increase accordingly. If we are able to utilize Africa's plentiful resources more fully by harnessing Japan's technologies, this will surely be a major trigger for growth and benefit Africa.

For that reason, the Japanese government will implement measures to promote the activities of Japanese companies in Africa while it improves African infrastructure. ... we will be inaugurating within the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) the Facility for African Investment. This Facility will directly finance businesses in African countries and guarantee the financing provided by Japanese banks for businesses in Africa. Financial assistance for Africa through the JBIC, including this newly-established JBIC Facility for African Investment, will be on a scale of 2.5 billion US dollars over the next five years. Through such public-private collaborative activity, we are aiming to double Japanese private investment in Africa.

Next, please allow me to touch briefly on the issue of agriculture. In order to fully ensure growth in Africa, the development of agriculture is extremely important, as some two-thirds of the total population of Africa is engaged in it.


We are deeply concerned by the fact that many African countries are in great difficulty as a result of the recent sharp rise in food prices. The Government of Japan recently announced an emergency food assistance package equivalent to 100 million US dollars. I will promise you here that a significant portion of this amount will be targeted to Africa. On top of this, Japan is further considering various assistance measures, including relief measures for groups that have newly fallen into poverty as well as measures to support crop planting for next year and the year after.

I have been speaking thus far about the importance of infrastructure, private investment, and agricultural production for growth. Next, I would like to touch on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Africa is facing a shortage of as many as 1.5 million health workers. In response to this, Japan will train one hundred thousand people in Africa over the next five years as health workers.


Recently in the area of health-related measures, I decided that Japan would contribute 560 million US dollars to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the coming years, starting in 2009, to support the fight against these three major infectious diseases. As you are aware, approximately 60 percent of the Global Fund's total assistance goes to sub-Saharan Afric

In the fields of health or combating infectious diseases, Japan is also considering dispatching Japanese researchers to universities and research institutions in Africa. I would like for these researchers to engage in joint research with young African researchers to find solutions for various issues. I would also like to announce that we will be convening a Japan-Africa Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in autumn this year.

Next I want to touch upon the fact that Japan intends to reward persons who have been active in the fields of health or medical services in Africa through the "Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize." It was launched in honor of Dr. Noguchi, who died while researching yellow fever in Africa. The prize's first awards ceremony will be held this evening.


In order to bring about the range of measures that I have announced thus far, we will need to take bold steps in our ODA. I pledge that by 2012--five years from now--Japan will have doubled its ODA to Africa, increasing it gradually over these years to achieve this target. Just a minute ago, I stated that Japan would be providing Japanese ODA loans of up to 4 billion US dollars to Africa to improve African infrastructure. In addition, I promise that Japan will double its grant aid and technical cooperation for Africa over the next five years. Moreover, Japan will coordinate with the international community, acting in good faith to address issues of debt relief for Africa.

Finally, I would like to touch on the issue of climate change, which will also be one of the major themes for discussion at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. I recently outlined a mechanism called the "Cool Earth Partnership." Under this Partnership, Japan intends to engage in assistance to developing countries, including African countries, that aim to achieve both greenhouse gas emissions reductions and economic growth in a compatible way. The scale of assistance is 10 billion US dollars over the course of five years, beginning this year. ...

As I conclude my remarks today, I would like to address Japan's fundamental approach to African development. This can be summed up in the phrase "self-reliance and mutual cooperation."

For Japan, a country with virtually no underground resources to speak of, the most important type of resources is human resources. First, we give our children a thorough education. Then, we make them self-reliant. On that basis, they live in harmony together with others, pooling their abilities to deal with any difficulties that their friends might face. This is the principle of "self-reliance and mutual cooperation."


So many Japanese have made efforts side by side with the people of Africa. In particular, approximately 11,000 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) have been dispatched to Africa over the years. This constitutes a truly tremendous track record. At this very moment there are 971 JOCVs working all around the African continent. More than half of these volunteers--570 of them--are women. I furthermore would like to increase the number of African students studying in Japan. I firmly believe that mutual exchanges of youth will form the foundation for the future of Japan and Africa.

Civil Society Reaction to Opening Speech by Prime Minister Fukuda

Press release from TNnet/G8 NGO Forum on the opening speech of the Japanese Prime Minister at the opening ceremony

TCSF English Newsletter Extra

May 27, 2008

TICAD Civil Society Forum (TCSF)

For more information, contact:
Toko Tomita: +81-(0)90-5217-6448 on behalf of: TICAD IV NGO Network
Takumo Yamada: +81-(0)80-3155-7017 on behalf of: 2008 G8 Summit NGO Forum

May 28th, 2008, Yokohama: At the opening ceremony of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, the Japanese Prime Minister delivered a speech, in which he announced various development supports for Africa for the coming 5 years. TICAD IV NGO Network and 2008 G8 Summit NGO Network have together issued the following reactions to some of the announcements made.

Aid to Promote Private Sector Investment to Boost Economic Growth

Prime Minister first noted rapid economic growth that Africa is seeing, and announced various supports including USD 4 billion in loans for transport infrastructure, trade insurance and a USD 2.5 billion worth of financing support for Japanese companies, seeking investment opportunities in Africa, all over the next 5 years when the next TICAD will be held.

While there is no doubt Africa needs growth, we civil society believe that this is exactly the time to prioritise direct invest in the areas of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), both because many African societies suffer from social and economic divides and in order to ensure that poor people can take part in the economic activities.

Civil society is also concerned the implication of this large amount of loans on the poor communities in Africa. Africa's current debt crisis started with the plummeting primary commodity prices. It is not clear whether the current growth is sustainable, and it is questionable whether Africa will have the capacity to repay the loans announced today.

Millenniun Development Goals

Fukuda reiterated the importance of achieving the MDGs, and committed Japan to support reproductive health and train 100,000 health workers in the coming 5 years. Although welcome in itself, the plan does not go far enough to help Africa reach the health MDGs. Africa's public health sectors suffers from the huge lack of money to recruit and pay for their human resources, so the trained and qualified people have little choice but to migrate to rich countries. If Japan is serious about overcoming the health worker crisis, then it needs to be prepared to pay for these expenditures.

Prime Minister also mentioned the pledge he made last week to contribute USD 560 million to the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria for the coming few years. But unless this is disbursed by the end of 2010, it will not lead to an increase of Japan's contribution.

Considering TICAD's repeated emphasis on the role of education in creating an equitable society, it is mysterious to see Fukuda not mentioning the issue. Japan must increase its financial contribution to the Education for All Fast Track Initiative.

Increase of Aid to Africa

Prime Minister announced the country's plan to double grant aid and technical assistance to Africa. According to the information material distributed by the government at the TICAD venue, this doubling will be "excluding debt relief". This is a marked step forward, as most of the last "doubling of aid to Africa" announced by the then-PM Koizumi in 2005 has disappeared in the form of debt relief. Japan now must combine this with a timetable to increase its overall aid from the current 0.17% of GNI to 0.7% so that this increase of aid to Africa will not end up robbing the needed development finance from other regions.

Climate Change

Fukuda highlighted the USD 10 billion finance for developing countries trying to reconcile economic growth and climate mitigation objectives, as part of Japan's Cool Earth Partnership. However, this money is mainly aimed for large emitting developing countries, and it is not clear how much of it will be distributed to Africa, whose primacy problem of climate change is adaptation rather than mitigation. NGOs also stressed the need for climate finance separate from and in addition to the 0.7% GNI commitment on ODA, and for it to be spent through the UN Adaptation Fund which ensures majority developing country say.

Lastly, Africa will continue to suffer as long and as much as Japan continues to cause global warming. Japan must set and achieve an ambitious mid-term Green House Gas Emission reduction target, as well as providing adaptation financing to African countries.

Japan and the Global Fund

Dear colleagues,

Today Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan made a speech in the symposium named "From Okinawa to Toya-ko" organized by Friends of the Global Fund Japan, the Global Fund and Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo and pledged 560 million US dollars in the coming a few years after 2009 to the Global Fund.

Civil society made 2 press releases, one is from Japanese civil society and the other is global civil society, which both show our disappointment.

The following is the statement from Japanese civil society.

sincerely yours,

Masaki Inaba
Africa Japan Forum/Japan AIDS and Society Association

Civil Society 'Disappointed' by Japan's Global Fund Contribution
Civil Society Response to the Japanese Contribution to the Global Fund

Project RING, Japan AIDS and Society Association Africa Japan Forum

For more information contact: Masaki Inaba/Aki Ogawa E-mail Address: Phone: +81-90-1264-8110 (Mobile of Masaki Inaba)

May 23 2008 Tokyo, Japan - Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that today Japan would contribute a total of USD 560 Million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the `coming few years`. If the pledge were made for the two years of 2009 to 2010, the Japanese contribution have increased from USD 186 Million in 2008 to USD 280 Million in 2009 and 2010. Yet the ambiguous time period of "the coming few years" leaves open the possibility that the USD 560 million will be paid over 2008-2011, meaning that the Japanese contribution to the Global Fund would not increase. The language makes it impossible to comment on the significance of the pledge at the time when demand has grown enormously and the contributions from other major donors have increased significantly.

An estimated USD 15-18 billion for 2008-2010 to the Global Fund will be needed in order to help meet internationally agreed-upon targets such as the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and the goal of achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS services by 2010, this contribution is far short of the USD 1-2 billion that is Japan's 'fair share' contribution to the Global Fund.

Donors such as the USA have consistently contributed about one-third of the Global Fund's funding needs, and the USA represents about one-third of GNI. On this basis, Japan, which has the second largest economy in the world, should represent about 12% of Global Fund needs, which is approximately USD 2.2 Billion FY 2008-2010.

Masaki Inaba from Japan AIDS and Society Association said, "This contribution is far below what Japan should be paying. As Japan has the 2nd largest economy in the world, Japan needs to take the responsibility of being the 2nd largest donor." The Global Fund Board, with the support of Japan, recently decided, in principle, to launch an additional funding Round in 2009, which will increase the funding demand from countries urgently scaling up programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Japanese government's decision not to pay its fair share is particularly disappointing, given the increased need being expressed by developing countries.

Disappointment was also heard from civil society in Africa. Cheikh Tidanne Tall, Executive Director of AfriCASO said, "This unexpected pledge from the Government of Japan creates a deep disappointment for African CSO's; Africans being the continent which carries the largest burden of the three diseases through the millions of men, women and children suffering because of the lack of treatment."

Under the economic climate of decreasing ODA, civil society as well as some members within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked hard to ensure that Japan makes a pledge today, yet as society, as government as a whole, no one has taken the responsibility to fulfill international promises.

In 2000, at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, the Japanese Government, led by Prime Minister Mori launched the Okinawa Infectious Disease Initiative, committed itself to the global response to the spread of the infectious diseases. Japan had prided itself as helping to pave the way for the establishment of the Global Fund, as proudly announced by Foreign Minister Koumura at a political speech in November 2007, and reiterated by Prime Minister Fukuda's speech in the 2008 World Economic Forum. This announcement left civil society wondering where this commitment has gone.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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