Section 7. Africa
1. Internal and External Situation
(a) The 45 African countries to the South of Sahara, excluding Sudan, suffering from chronic food shortage, saw their accumulated external debt problem worsen in 1987, becoming subjects of heated international arguments. On the political front, there were no signs of improvement in the situation in South Africa with the fluid situations in southern Africa remaining due to continued cross-border attacks on its neighboring countries by South Africa. But some progress was made toward the solution of the Chad problem.
(b) Economic Situation
On the economic front, eight countries still needed emergency food assistance as of the end of March 1988 due to, especially, the effect of drought. Moreover, many countries suffer from structural shortage of foodstuffs against the background of increased population, and insufficient food transportation and storage facilities. In particular, Ethiopia has seen the breakout of food shortages, said to be more serious than one that occurred at the time of the 1984-1985 drought.
Furthermore, Africa continued to face economic difficulties as evidenced by sluggish primary commodity prices, low economic growth rates and trade deficits. Especially, the accumulated external debt problem deteriorated fast and this was played up internationally in 1987. The Sub-Saharan African countries had total outstanding external debts of about $100 billion as of the end of 1986. Though this amount represents only about 10% of the developing countries' total outstanding debts, the Sub-Saharan African countries have experienced rapid deterioration in their external debt situations and these debts are proving to be no small burdens to them in view of the size of their economies (the ratio of outstanding debts to the GNP averaged 57.5% at the end of 1986). Taking a serious view of such heavy burdens, developed countries discussed this point at the Venice Summit and other meetings. In December 1987, the World Bank sponsored a conference of aid donor countries on African countries' accumulated external debts where studies on the adoption of special preferential measures for low-income indebted countries to the south of the Sahara.
On the other hand, African countries for their part discussed this matter mainly at the forums of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and other organizations. The OAU, which had called for the holding of an international conference on the accumulated external debt issue since 1985, took up this matter as the main agenda item at the 23rd meeting of the leaders of its member countries in July 1987. In accordance with a decision made at the July meeting, special meetings of the heads of the OAU member countries were convened November 30 and December 1 to discuss the accumulated external debt issue of Africa. These meetings resulted in a declaration containing hard-line demands for the conversion of past official bilateral loans into grants and the suspension of debt repayments over 10 years as well as the call for the convocation of an international conference at the end of 1988, which will be joined by creditor countries and international organizations.
(c) Political Situation
(i) Major Changes in Internal Politics
There was a switch of heads of state in four African countries between April 1987 and March 1988. These are Burundi (September), Burkina Faso (October), Niger (November) and Zimbabwe (December). Of the leadership reshuffle in the four countries, Zimbabwe saw Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's rise to the presidency in keeping with a constitutional change, while, Ali Seibou, Chief of the General Staff of the Niger forces, took over the helm of the African country following the death of sickness of Brig. Gen. Senya Kountche, president of the Supreme Military Council. On the other hand, the leadership change in Burundi and Burkina Faso resulted from coups. In the background of such tensions in domestic politics were economic difficulties faced by these countries. Besides in Burundi and Burkina Faso, coups were attempted in several other countries.
Meanwhile, Senegal, which is seen having the tradition of a Western-type democracy, held presidential and national assembly elections, while moves were noted for the transfer of power to civilians in Nigeria, Ghana and other countries.
(ii) Conflict in Chad
The Libyan and Chad forces had been pitted against each other in northern Chad straddling the 16th parallel of the north latitude until March 1987 when the government forces of Chad pushed back the Libyan forces to the Aozou region near the Chad-Libya common border after fierce battles. As a result, the conflict between the two countries converged into the problem of which owns the Aozou strip, to which Libya has laid claim since 1973. In August 1987, the two countries again staged fierce battles over the territorial rights to the region. Taking a serious view of this conflict, OAU Chairman Kenneth David Kaunda called on these two countries to suspend hostilities, resulting in a cease-fire on September 11. The Aozou strip territorial dispute was later referred to the OAU's special committee on the Chad-Libya conflict and its first meeting was held in Lusaka, Zambia, September 23-24. In February 1988, the committee held a ministerial-level meeting and studied documents submitted by the two warring parties in order to submit recommendations to a top-level meeting of the committee scheduled for May of that year.
(d) Regional Cooperation
(i) Organization of African Unity (OAU)
The Organization of African Unity (OAU), which comprises 50 countries on the African Continent, held the 23rd meeting of leaders of its member countries in Addis Ababa in July 1987, at which Zambian President Kenneth David Kaunda was elected as its chairman. At the meeting, the leaders strongly called for sanctions anew against South Africa and took up the political issue of the Chad-Libya conflict. They also took a serious view of the accumulated external debt problems of African countries and held an Extraordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the problems in November-December.
(ii) Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADDC)
The Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADDC), which was established in 1979 mainly by South Africa's neighbors forming the so-called front-line states to extricate themselves from their economic dependence on South Africa, held an annual consultative meeting with aid donor countries and international organizations in Arusha, Tanzania, in January 1988 to discuss "infrastructure development and corporations" and came up with a declaration calling for mutual strengthening of ties for improving infrastructures and promoting investment in production areas. These aid donor countries and international organizations are expected to contribute $1 billion or more to SADDC's projects over the next four years.
(2) Situations of Major African Countries
(a) Western African Region
(i) Burkina Faso
In Burkina Faso, where President Sankara had been in power since the 1983 coup, the forces loyal to then Justice Minister Capt. Blaise Compaore, staged a coup in October 1987 and overthrew the Sankara regime. Capt. Compaore then established the Popular Front and he himself became its chairman and president of Burkina Faso.
The coup took its neighboring countries by surprise and did not necessarily receive a favorable response from them as Capt. Compaore used to be Sankara's right-hand man and Sankara himself was murdered in the course of the uprising. But as no major confusion ensued domestically and the new regime came out with a policy of forging friendly and cooperative relations externally, in particular Burkina Faso's neighboring countries, it is now being accepted by them gradually.
The new regime's domestic and external policies bear close watching, though it has stated the need to proceed with the revolution by stressing that there has been no change in the revolutionary spirit of the former regime for reinstating independence, honor, freedom and dignity of the Burkina Faso people.
Against the background of the recovery of health by President Ibrahim Babangida, who has been in power since the 1985 coup, and a smooth progress in the country's economic structural adjustment policy, the Babangida Administration reversed its passive stance in the past and adopted a positive posture, to exert a powerful leadership, announcing on July 1, 1987, a concrete timetable for switching to civil administration and deciding on a measure to ban those who have occupied key government posts from running in elections for public offices in September of that year.
The administration also became active on the diplomatic front by striving to promote its economic relations with major Western nations in order to rehabilitate its economy with the result that debt rescheduling negotiations on the basis of the Paris Club and London Club agreements made smooth progress. U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also visited Nigeria. Moreover, the administration put much effort into promoting relations with other West African nations and Nigeria sponsored a meeting of the leaders of the countries comprising the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) in 1987 as in the previous year. At the meeting, Nigeria was elected the chairman country of the organization for the third consecutive term.
On the economic front, Nigeria continued with the adjustment of its economic structure under the guidance of the World Bank and the IMF, producing no small effects as evidenced by increased exports of agricultural products in keeping with the devaluation of the Nigerian currency naira and a rise in the capacity utilization rates of the industrial sectors in which the ratios of local procurements of materials are high, such as the cement and textile industries, as well as by the fact that inflation did not advance as rapidly as originally feared. Thus the adjustment policy had fairly tangible results.
Senegal is known as one of the few countries in Africa where there are a number of political parties and democracy has taken root. Since its independence, the Socialist Party has taken the helm of the government.
In the presidential and National Assembly elections held in February 1988, President Abdou Diouf was reelected and the ruling Socialist Party secured an absolute majority. Though attention focused on whether election campaigns, voting and ballot counting would be conducted in a fair manner, they were carried out in a democratic and peaceful manner in general. But in the wake of riots by students and youths after the election, the government adopted hard-line measures of declaring a state of emergency and imposing a curfew, prompting some observers to point out that its image as a democratic nation has been tarnished.
On the economic front, Senegal continued with a structural adjustment policy and its economic situation improved measurably in 1985-1987, as evidenced by a switch to a positive overall balance of payments at the end of 1986 for the first time in 10 years, especially, thanks to sufficient rains. But the country is still faced with serious economic difficulties, such as a fiscal deficit and accumulated external debts.
(b) East African Region (Ethiopia)
Following the National Assembly (Shengo) elections in June 1987, the first National Assembly was convened in September of that year, at which the establishment of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the effectuation of its constitution was declared, resulting in the transfer from the military rule, which lasted for 13 years since the 1974 revolution, to civil administration.
After its inception, the civil administration actively dispatched key government officials to Western countries as part of its diplomatic efforts, while on the economic front, it implemented a market-economy oriented agricultural-sector improvement program in January 1988, showing signs of leaning toward an open economic policy.
On the other hand, insufficient rains in the 1987 rainy season caused serious drought mainly in the northern region, which reportedly affected as many as 5 million people.
Similarly, anti-government guerrilla activities gathered momentum in the northern region in the latter half of 1987 and a civil war between them and the government forces has intensified since March 1988. Its effects on the stability of President Megistu Haile Mariam's regime, including the impact on foreign countries' emergency aid activities in the wake of the drought, are being closely watched.
(c) Southern African Region (Zimbabwe)
The government of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe abolished a special quota for the white people in the parliament through due procedures and held by-elections to fulfill the seats vacated by the measure in September 1987, with the result that all the white lawmakers (four in the Senate and 11 in the House of Representatives) became supporters of Mugabe.
In December 1987, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) was integrated. As a result, the ZANU-PF came to account for 139 out of the total 140 seats in the parliament. Moreover, Prime Minister Mugabe assumed the presidency on December 1987, in keeping with a shift to the administrative-type presidency, consolidating the Mugabe regime that had been in power for seven years since Zimbabwe's independence.
But on the economic front, the country was expected to incur a negative real economic growth rate of 2%-3% due to sluggish agricultural activities caused by drought and slackening commodity market prices.
2. Relations with Japan
Africa has a large say at the United Nations because it accounts for nearly one-third of the total number of U.N. members. It also plays an important role in the world economy on the back of rich natural resources. On the other hand, its economic bases are still fragile and faces economic difficulties such as accumulated external debt problems, hence the need for support from the international society.
With these in mind, Japan has been striving to contribute to the development of Africa through economic and technological cooperation from the viewpoints of deepening Japan's relations with Africa further and fulfilling its international responsibility. At the same time, Japan has been trying to promote personal and cultural exchanges with African countries and thus deepen mutual understanding so as to make such cooperative relations more effective.
(2) Promotion of Mutual Understanding
Because of geographical distance and cultural gaps, Japan's exchanges with Africa have been limited so far.
Furthermore, the image of Africa in Japan has tended to focus on dark sides, such as drought and natural disasters, providing the Japanese with few opportunities to come in touch with the rich culture nurtured in Africa. On the other hand, towns in Africa are flooded by Japanese automobiles and electrical appliances, though the African people have few chances to look at Japanese.
Therefore, Japan finds it indispensable to create opportunities for a direct dialogue through personal exchanges with Africa in order to establish solid bases for mutual understanding and accelerate cultural exchanges. Japan has been making efforts to this end.
(a) Personal Exchanges
With a view to carrying personal exchanges at all levels ranging from government leaders to the youth, Japan has been inviting the African people under various programs.
As a result of such efforts, visits to Japan, though unofficial, were made by Ahmed Abdallah, President of Comoro, in April 1987, by Prime Minister Kebby Musokotwane of Zambia in September of that year, by Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth of Mauritius in January 1988 and by President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda in March of that year. Furthermore, a number of ministerial-level officials came to Japan from Africa, with Ugandan Foreign Minister Ibrahim Mukibi and the Tanzanian Foreign Minister visiting Japan as guests of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May-June and September 1987, respectively.
On the other hand, Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeshi Hamano made official visits to Ghana, the Ivory Coast and other African countries in September-October 1987.
(b) Cultural Exchanges
With the cooperation from the private sector, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the following events:
(i) Dispatch of Sports-Culture Mission to Africa to Promote Friendship between Japan and Africa
The mission comprising a women's volleyball team, a mandolin band and Japanese-style flower arrangement teachers visited Tunisia, Cameroon and the Ivorv Coast in summer 1987, receiving an enthusiastic welcome from the local people.
(ii) African Culture Fair '87
The fair, which took place in Tokyo in November, focused on the traditional coffee ceremony in Ethiopia and introduced the lifestyle of Africa from many different angles. It drew a large audience.
(iii) Light and Wind in Africa - 5 Days to Get Acquainted with Africa
This event in Sapporo in March 1988 featured the showing of the film titled "Light" directed by the movie director Cisse of the Republic of Mali who came from the African country to attend the festival. The film received the Judges Award at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. The event conveyed the true picture of Africa.
(3) Economic and Technical Cooperation
In recent years, Japan has reinforced its support to Africa so that it can better cope with such economic difficulties as food shortage and accumulated external debt problems with its ODA to Africa jumping about 10-fold during the past 10 years. Japan's ODA to the Sub-Saharan African region, including Sudan, rose to $593.42 million in 1987 from $58.26 million in 1977. The share of Japan's ODA to Africa to its total bilateral ODA also expanded to 11.3% from 6.5%.
In particular, as then Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone pledged at the Venice Summit meeting in June 1987, Japan plans to extend about $500 million in non-project type grant assistance to African and other impoverished countries in view of the seriousness of their economic difficulties caused by snowballing external debts, expanding international balance of payments deficits. In fiscal 1987, Japan provided about $150 million (about \20,000 million) in such assistance to Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries.
Moreover, in order to help African countries carry out structural adjustments, Japan has been extending Special Joint Facilities with the World Bank's Africa Fund since 1985. Japan's bilateral intergovernmental assistance for Africa totaled $593.42 million, a sharp increase of 31.5% from the previous year.
In 1987, Japan's exports to African countries increased 39.2% from the previous year to $4,360 million and covered automobiles, ships and other items, while its imports from these countries rose 2.4% to $3,310 million and involved coal, platinum and other mineral resources, and coffee and other agricultural products, leaving a trade surplus in favor of Japan.
By country, Japan's exports to the five African countries of South Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia accounted for 78.3% of its total exports to Africa, while its imports from South Africa, Zambia, Mauritania, Zimbabwe and Ghana occupied 85.8% of its total imports from the region.
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