Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA: Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 3. Assistance for Each Region > 5. Middle East

5. Middle East

Japan's bilateral ODA to the Middle East in 2004 was approximately US$1,030.87 million, 17.3% of total bilateral ODA.

Stability in the Middle East is extremely important for global peace because situations in this region, such as the Middle East Peace Process and the Iraqi situation, potentially have international influence. In particular, the Middle East plays a very important role in the stability of the world economy because it is the main supplier of oil. As Japan relies on the Middle East for nearly 90% of its oil resource, instability in this region directly affects the Japanese economy. In the Middle East, due to such factors as the worsening situation between Palestine and Israel since September 2000, the fight against terrorism in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the use of force against Iraq in 2003, there are countries and regions in which public safety and the social and daily-living infrastructures have deteriorated considerably, significantly affecting the entire region. It has become extremely important for the international community to unite its efforts to assist in post-war reconstruction and in realizing peace in these countries and regions; therefore, Japan is actively providing assistance. Furthermore, from the viewpoint of supporting the comprehensive efforts of the international community to fight terrorism, the role played by Japan's ODA to Middle Eastern countries has become increasingly important.

The economic situations of Middle Eastern countries vary since some are oil producers with high incomes, while others are LDCs with low incomes. Under such conditions, it has become a major task not only to assist these LDCs, but also to help the oil-producing countries become less dependent on their oil and promote human development, such as the cultivation of domestic engineers, aimed at diversifying their economy. Moreover, securing water resources is also an important issue that can influence the stability of this region. Based on this recognition, Japan has actively provided assistance in order to promote social stability and create environments for peace in the Middle East, emphasizing the following points:

  • Providing support for the Middle East Peace Process (through assistance to the Palestinians as well as to neighboring Arab countries)

  • Providing support for social and economic infrastructure development in relatively low-income countries, including agricultural development and water-resources management

  • Providing technical cooperation in Gulf States for the training of engineers for the achievement of economic diversification and the development of non-petroleum sectors

  • Providing support for human resources development, environmental conservation measures, etc., that meet the needs of each country

Furthermore, due to the Middle East situation since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Japan is actively providing reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan and Iraq to support peace-building, which is one of the priority issues outlined in the ODA charter. (See Peace-Building on 4 (1) of Part II, Chapter 2, Section 2 regarding assistance to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan.) Moreover, at the G8 Sea Island Summit in June 2004, the Broader Middle East and North Africa ( BMENA ) Partnership was hammered out to support the reform efforts of the Middle Eastern countries. Taking into consideration the need to tackle the employment issue, which is a serious issue for many of the Middle Eastern countries, Japan has asserted the importance of vocational training and announced its intention to provide assistance in this area that will benefit approximately 10,000 people over the next three years. In relation to these developments, OECD is advancing the MENA-OECD Initiative, 48 which Japan co-chairs and provides with financial cooperation, to promote investments and good governance in the Middle East and North Africa ( MENA ).

Regarding assistance to Middle East peace-building, Japan has provided approximately US$760 million to Palestine since the current peace process began in 1993 through FY2004. After the death of Chairman Yassar Arafat in November 2004, Mohammad Abbas was elected president in January 2005. To support President Abbas's peace efforts, on the occasion of the visit to the Palestine Autonomous Areas and Israel in January 2005, Foreign Minister Machimura announced that Japan would provide support to Palestine for attaining economic independence, in addition to the aid which had already been offered in the three main areas of humanitarian, reform, and confidence-building assistance. Under this policy, Japan decided to extend an additional US$60 million in assistance in February 2005. Of this amount, US$30 million was allotted to employment-generating projects implemented by UNDP and UNRWA, and the remaining US$30 million was extended to the trust fund of the World Bank, in addition to the US$10 million offered in September of the previous year to be used as financial support for the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. Moreover, on the occasion of President Abbas's visit to Japan in May 2005, Japan announced that it would provide a total of US$100 million in the near future, which includes emergency assistance related to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

In FY2004, Japan extended cooperation through yen loans to Egypt, Turkey, and Algeria. Funds were provided for projects including the Borg El Arab International Airport Modernization Project implemented in the suburb of Alexandria, Egypt, the Bosphorus Rail Tube Crossing Project (II) in Turkey, and the Earthquake-Affected Education Sector Reconstruction Project in Algeria. Japan also provided grant aid to support the Project for Improvement of Water Supply System at the Northern Pyramids Area in Giza City in Egypt, the Project for Improving the Quality of Products and Increasing the Competitiveness of the Industrial Sector in Jordan, the Project for Development of New Water Resources for Damascus City in Syria, and the Project for Improvement of Training Center for Road Maintenance and Construction Machinery in Morocco. Technical cooperation projects such as the Project on the Improvement of Audio-Visual Aids and Instruction Methods in Vocational Training at the Instructor Training Center in Iran, the Project for the Establishment of the Vocational Training Center for the Electric and Electronics Industry in Tunisia, and the Project for Business Incubator of Entrepreneurs in Information and Communication Technology in Jordan are being implemented mainly in the vocational training sector.

Chart 30. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Middle East

Chart 30. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Middle East